Brioche mincemeat doughnuts – A sweet buttery brioche dough stuffed with fruity mincemeat and coated in a spiced sugar flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
My guess is that anyone who’s organised and into a bit of seasonal baking already has their Christmas confectionary well under way. Cakes already made and probably iced, while Christmas pudding are left maturing for the big day. All that’s left is to make an alternative dessert for the punters who don’t like pudding (there’s always a few) and of course the mince pies.
I’ve got to put my hand up and admit I’ve never made a Christmas cake and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve cooked a pudding. Mince pies, however, are definitely my thing. In every restaurant I’ve worked in down the years they’d be on the menu for the month of December. Either a mini version served as a petit four with coffee or full size as a proper dessert….warm from the oven with lashings of cream, custard, or my personal favourite smooth vanilla ice cream.
If you’re a mince-pie maker chances are you might have a little of that spiced mincemeat left over from a batch of pies or you might like to do something a little different with it for a change. If so, then this brioche mincemeat doughnut recipe is for you. It’s a culmination of three of my favourite foods. Buttery soft brioche, spicy mince-pie filling and filled fritter doughnuts.
Brioche dough is handy enough to make but ideally, you need a stand mixer to knock it up. This is a piece of equipment sadly missing from my kitchen since the old kitchen aid that I bought on eBay gave up the ghost. Feeling energetic I decided to give it a go by hand and I gotta say it was hard work. It took a good 15 minutes working the gluten, and an awful lot of beating to turn the soft mix to into a smooth elastic dough. This is not including the time it took me to work in the butter… Time to ask Santa for a new mixer.
Once that jobs done you need to rest the dough in the fridge overnight so it’s easier to handle. Next day the work gets easier. Simply roll up your doughnuts, rest them till they’ve nearly doubled in size, then cook them.
As the doughnuts prove they return to their original consistency becoming soft and difficult to handle. It’s the reason brioche is always proved and cooked in some sort of tin. To overcome this and to make it easier to slid them into the oil for cooking I placed each brioche doughnut on its own little strip of baking parchment. Then I could pick them up one at a time and cook them in batches of 3 or 4.
To fill my doughnuts on this occasion I used shop bought mincemeat. It’s convenient, quicker, and works out a little cheaper than buying all the ingredients for making your own. I like to pimp it out a little before stuffing it in the doughnuts though. Some of these store-bought mince meats can be a little mean with the brandy, apple, and spices so I added a little extra of each to the mix along with some caramelized walnuts for some added crunch. You’ll also find it easier to fill the doughnuts if you warm the mincemeat a little and give it a quick whizz in the food processor to get if a bit finer.
Once the doughnuts are filled to bursting with your brandy infused mincemeat the last job is giving them a fine coating of the spice-laced castor sugar. I really wanted to get some of the more traditional Christmas smells and flavours into the doughnuts. So into the sugar went a teaspoon of cinnamon, some nutmeg, and a spice that only ever seems to get used at Christmas time… cloves.
These doughnuts are best eaten straight away or up to a couple of hours after they come out of the fryer. Next time I cook them which will be Christmas 2016 after I invest in new mixer my plan is to make a silky thick custard to dip them into.
A sweet buttery brioche dough stuffed with fruity mincemeat and coated in a spiced sugar flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
for the doughnuts
125 ml/half cup of warmed milk
14g /half an ounce of fast action dried yeast
120g / 4oz of caster sugar
500g / 17.5oz of strong bakers flour
10g / .3oz of salt
6 large eggs
390g /13.5oz softened butter
500g / 17.5 of mincemeat
to cook the doughnuts
1 litre / 2 pints of vegetable oil
to coat the doughnuts
3 tablespoons of castor sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
half a teaspoon of ground nutmeg
a quarter teaspoon of ground cloves
Sprinkle the dried yeast into the warmed milk then stir in the sugar and leave for 15 minutes.
Place the flour, salt, and eggs into the bowl of your stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment for 2/3 minutes. Add in the yeasted milk and continue to beat the dough for a further 5 minutes.
Turn your mixer to its slowest setting and slowly, little by little, add the softened butter to the dough. Beating well between each addition until all the butter has been well incorporated.
Turn your dough out into a clean bowl and refrigerate overnight. When it’s well chilled the soft dough becomes much easier to handle.
Next day knock the air out of the dough and turn it out onto a well-floured work surface, Cut the dough in 25g /1-ounce pieces and roll each one into a ball. This mix should give you 20/25 doughnuts.
Place each doughnut on its own little strip of baking parchment sitting on a tray. This makes it easier to slid them into the oil for cooking later because they will become quite soft again as they prove.
Cover the tray with a damp cloth to prevent a skin forming on the doughnuts and leave it in a warm place till they’ve nearly doubled in size.
When you’re ready to cook the doughnuts heat the oil to 150c. Gently slide each doughnut from its strip of parchment into the hot oil and cook for 3/4 minutes each side till golden. Do this in batches of 3 or 4 at a time so as not to overcrowd the pan. Then drain the doughnuts well on kitchen towels.
To fill the doughnuts put the mincemeat into a piping bag then gently poke a deep hole in the side of each doughnut with a knife. Use the piping bag to squeeze in as much of the mincemeat as possible.
When each of the doughnuts is filled mix together the caster sugar, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly roll each doughnut in the spicy sugar mix till it’s well coated.
These Christmas doughnuts are best eaten while still a little warm for up to about a couple of hours after their made.