Easter, in our minds at least, is a time to indulge as much as we can in the sweetest of treats. We asked Julia Ostro – the Melbourne-based cook known for her love of quality produce and uncomplicated recipes – to devise for us an Easter recipe. Here we see the result: the most divine orange-scented cinnamon doughnuts that are to be eaten alongside her spiced hot chocolate. We can’t wait to make these at home.
There is something about cinnamon doughnuts which is rather nostalgic. In contrast to others, they may seem simple, but it is this same simplicity which is so evocative. Paired with a thick and rich spiced hot chocolate, this is a wonderful dessert or eaten as a decadent breakfast, especially as the days get shorter and the mornings colder.
The doughnuts are best eaten soon after making them, so prepare them as close to the time as you want to serve them as possible. You can vary the spices in the hot chocolate – cardamom, allspice or cloves would all be terrific. Source the best quality chocolate you can afford and play around with quantities to make it richer or thicker as you desire.
Orange scented cinnamon doughnuts
300g 00 flour
7g dry active yeast
240g caster sugar
Finely grated zest and juice of an orange
50ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
1 egg, lightly beaten
50ml full cream milk
70ml pure cream
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Place the flour and yeast in the bowl of on electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment. In a separate bowl, place 40g of the sugar and the orange zest. Rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers until damp and fragrant. Pour in the juice, olive oil and egg and mix to combine.
Gently warm the cream, milk with the vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan over a low heat until tepid, about 30°C. If the mixture becomes too hot, simply allow it to come to the right temperature before using. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk. Combine with the sugar mixture.
Turn the mixer on to medium speed and pour the cream mixture into the dry ingredients. Mix for 5–6 minutes until combined. The dough should be sticky and elastic. Transfer to a large bowl that has been lightly oiled and cover. Set aside in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size. Knock back the dough, cover again and leave to rise for another 45 minutes, until doubled in size again.
Line a large plate or tray with baking paper. Tip the dough onto a clean work surface and roll out to about 1 cm thick, dusting with flour if necessary. Cut into rounds using an 8 cm circle cutter, then using a 2 cm circle cutter to cut out the holes. Transfer to the prepared tray, allowing space between each one as they will rise again. Re-roll any scraps and repeat, then set aside to rise for 15 minutes.
In a shallow bowl, combine the remaining 200g of sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
Heat the vegetable oil in saucepan or deep-fryer to 180°C. Fry the doughnuts, in batches. for 3–4 minutes, flipping half way, until golden and puffed. Drain on paper towel or a wire rack, then toss in the cinnamon sugar.
Spiced hot chocolate
Spiced hot chocolate
1L cream milk
2 star anise
1 stick cinnamon
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2tsp freshly grated nutmeg, plus extra
150g 70% chocolate, finely chopped, plus extra
Whipped cream, to serve
Gently warm the milk in a large pot with the star anise and cinnamon stick until it reaches around 70°C. Remove the star anise and cinnamon and discard. Remove from the heat and whisk in the ground cinnamon, nutmeg and chocolate until smooth and the chocolate has melted.
Pour into serving glasses or mugs, top each with whipped cream and a fine grating of nutmeg and chocolate. Serve immediately with the freshly made doughnuts.