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Buttermilk Nutmeg Drop Doughnuts

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

These are an old-fashioned, crispy, rich-textured, incredibly satisfying pastry, simply flavoured with buttermilk and freshly grated nutmeg. They are easy to prepare and can be made in as short a time as it takes the oil to come up to temperature. The batter is looser than that of rolled and cut doughnuts, making these ones faster and less tricky to prepare. Do use freshly grated nutmeg for these fritters; it is the only flavouring used and the dusty bottled stuff just can’t compare.

About15 doughnuts

Cooking Methodfrying

CostInexpensive

Total Timeunder 1 hour

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationhalal, kosher, peanut free, soy free, vegetarian

Equipmentdeep fryer

Mealbreakfast, brunch, dinner

Taste and Texturecrisp, spiced, sweet

Ingredients

  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Mild-flavoured vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 1 cup granulated sugar blended with 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for rolling the hot fritters

Instructions

  1. Add vegetable oil to a large, heavy Dutch oven or deep fryer to a depth of about 3 inches. Slowly heat the oil until it registers 365° to 375° on a candy and deep-fry thermometer.

  2. Meanwhile, sift 1 cup of the flour and the salt, baking powder and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Add the nutmeg and sugar and stir well with a wire whisk to thoroughly blend. Sift the remaining 1½ cups flour into a small bowl and set aside. In a third bowl, lightly beat the egg and the egg white, then stir in the buttermilk and cooled melted butter. Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients all at once, then stir with a large-looped whisk or a wooden spoon until the batter is almost smooth. Gradually beat in the remaining flour, stirring just enough to moisten the flour and smooth out most of the lumps. Do not overbeat the batter or it may become gluey and the fritters will be tough.

  3. Have a large plate lined with several layers of paper towel near the stove. Place the cinnamon sugar in a shallow bowl and have a second platter ready to hold the finished doughnuts. When the oil has reached the right temperature, gently drop spoonfuls of the batter about the size of a large egg into the hot oil in batches of three or four. Cooking more fritters at a time may cause the oil temperature to drop too severely. Keep an eye on the thermometer—the temperature will initially jump when the batter is added, then drop slightly. Try to keep it within 5 or 10 degrees of 365° by playing with the number of fritters in the pot. Too low a heat will cause the fritters to absorb too much oil, while too high a temperature will burn the outsides before the insides are properly cooked.

  4. Fry the doughnuts for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, turning once or twice so they cook evenly. When they are a deep amber brown, transfer them to the paper towels with a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon. Let the fritters cool for a minute or so, then roll them in the cinnamon sugar and set them on the platter (or, as in my house, directly into somebody’s open, waiting hand). Allow the temperature of the oil to recover before adding the next batch of doughnuts and repeat until all of the batter is used. Like most fritters, these doughnuts are best eaten as soon as they are fried, as they tend to get soggy and unappetizing with standing.

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