RECIPE: French Honey Crullers

Given the many nights of my youth spent sitting in a small-town doughnut shop, I knew that the cruller had to be in this cookbook. I’m happy to say that this, perhaps the most sophisticated doughnut of the bunch, tastes way better than those you can get at your local drive-through. After successive successful test batches, I may have fist-pumped the air. Just sayin’. These crullers involve the deep fryer and the making of choux paste, but they are easier than they look. Don’t fret too much if the shapes are a bit wonky—that’s what the glaze is for. It’s like the under-eye concealer of the dessert world. When the crullers are puffed and golden, let them drain for a bit, then dunk them in the honey glaze. Double-dunk, if you wish. Triple-dunking is encouraged. The first bite of a homemade cruller is quite memorable. You might need to sit down. You’ve been warned.

French Crullers
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbsp icing sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
4–5 large eggs, at room temperature 8 cups
canola or vegetable oil, for frying

Honey Glaze
1-1/2 cups icing sugar
3 Tbsp whole milk
2 Tbsp liquid honey
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

Cut fifteen 3×3-inch squares out of parchment paper and place them on a baking sheet. Lightly spray each square with cooking spray, or use a pastry brush to grease them with a little oil.

To make the crullers, combine the milk, water, butter, sugar, salt and nutmeg in a medium saucepan and bring it to a simmer over medium heat, stirring once or twice. Once the butter melts and the mixture is bubbling, turn down the heat to low and add the flour all at once. Stir immediately with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Keep stirring over low heat until the mixture is thick and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan, about 5 minutes. This allows the moisture to evaporate and allows more fat to be absorbed when the eggs are added. When the dough steams a little and
smells kinda nutty, you know you’re doing great!

Immediately transfer the dough to the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute to cool the dough. Add 4 eggs, one at a time and beating each one until it’s thoroughly incorporated. Be sure to stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl after each addition. After you’ve beaten in the last egg, the mixture should be glossy and thick, but still pourable. When scooped into a spoon, the dough should slowly pour off the spoon. If it doesn’t fall off, or it comes off in one big lump, beat in the fifth egg.

Scoop the dough into a large piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe a ring onto each square, approximately 3/4 inch high. If your rings seem too skinny, pipe a bit more on top. Place the baking sheet full of piped rings in the freezer for 30 minutes. This will help the crullers keep their beloved ridges.

Heat the oil to 370°F in a large, deep saucepan. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set a wire rack over it.

Place 2 or 3 crullers, still on their parchment paper, in the hot oil, paper side up. You need to use your hands to do this, so just make sure you don’t burn your fingertips. The paper will release when it’s ready and will float off. Use tongs to lift the paper out and to flip the crullers over occasionally, so they brown evenly. Fry them for about 3 minutes, until golden brown. Set the crullers on the wire rack while you fry the remainder.

To make the glaze, sift the icing sugar into a medium bowl, then whisk in the remaining ingredients. Dip the tops of the crullers into the glaze while they’re still warm. Place them back on the wire rack
until the glaze sets.

Crullers are best eaten the day they are made, but can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day.

NOTE: Let the oil cool down completely before disposing of it in glass jars. Or you can save it for your next deep-frying adventure! Once the oil has cooled down completely, I pour it into a large plastic or glass container with a tight-fitting lid and use it up within a month.

Recipe by Renée Kohlman from All the Sweet Things, copyright © 2017 by Renée Kohlman.