Sunday, February 6, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Baked Donuts

I have a LOT of pumpkin puree.

Several days after Halloween, I discovered big bins of locally-grown pumpkins at our grocery store, marked down to 50 cents each. I bought six of them, stuck them down in the basement, and every now and then I haul one up, chop it into pieces, roast the seeds, cook the rest of it down in a big pot, run it through the food mill, and freeze it into two-cup portions.

I do this every year, mind you, with one huge pumpkin, and the gallon Ziplock bag that the pumpkin puree fills, frozen in its two-cup portions, generally lasts until the next year's pumpkin. And so, with the six years' of pumpkin puree that I now have in stock, I'm trying to be a bit more creative.

In other news, Willow wanted to make donuts again. With pumpkin on my mind, I turned this into a chance to use up some pumpkin puree (and add some healthy vitamins into an otherwise worthless confectionary).

Willow and I mixed up a batch of Pumpkin Pie Brioche from Healthy Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I ALWAYS have a batch of some kind or other of their bread dough in the refrigerator, but usually it's a multigrain bread dough, and so now I have two different batches of bread dough in the refrigerator--ah, the troubles that do plague us!

After the bread dough had risen and refrigerated (no-knead doughs can be a bit sticky, and so refrigerating them until right before you want to use them is useful), Syd rolled it out--
 --and it's February, so obviously we cut it into hearts:
 
 While the donuts baked, the girls indulged in their FAVORITE baking activity:
 
 
 
It's entitled Scoop out a Bunch of Flour and Make a Big Mess with It. It's a great game, and the girls can play it for longer than it takes for the bread to bake. I should tell you, though, that they do clean it up entirely by themselves afterwards--I empty the vacuum and take another pass with the spray cleaner, and that's about it.

We've done baked donuts before--our original recipe came from Knead it, Punch it, Bake it--and so we've gotten the method down to a point where I far prefer these baked donuts to store-bought deep-fried ones. I melt some Earth Balance into one bowl, whisk sugar and cinnamon and nutmeg (and pumpkin pie spice blend!) together into another bowl, and we dunk, then dip, then munch:
It's not really an expectation that any donuts actually make it to the serving platter afterwards, at least not until you're nice and full and comfy-feeling.

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