These doughnuts passed the test with all my critics—my son Martin, my coffee mate Jerry, and my painter Cathy.
For the dough: • 2 packages quick rise yeast
• ¼ cup warm water (105 degrees) • ½ cup heavy cream (room temperature)
• 1 cup water (room temperature) • 1/3 cup Crisco
• ½ cup sugar • ½ teaspoon salt
• 5 cups Swan cake flour
For the glaze: • ¼ cup heavy cream
• 3 cups powdered sugar • 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 3 tablespoons butter
In the mixing bowl of a KitchenAid mixer—pour the ½ cup of warm water (105 degrees), then sprinkle the yeast and let yeast dissolve and begin to activate. Add the cup of water with cream (make sure they are room temp—you can use warm tap water and add the cream to it). Add the Crisco, sugar, and salt.
Turn mixer on medium speed and add flour. Continue to mix until you have smooth, soft dough. It should be soft to the touch but not wet. You may need to add ¼ cup more of the cake flour. Take the bowl away from the mixer and find a warm place to let it rise. If you have a gas stove you can take a skillet and put a sheet pan on top and your dough will rise well.
Let the dough rise for 60 to 90 minutes—the dough should double in size.
Using cake flour, dust a surface to roll out the dough. Cut out doughnuts with doughnut cutter or into rounds with a biscuit cutter. Dust a sheet pan with a little cake flour, and place doughnuts on the pan and let rise another 45 to 60 minutes.
While the doughnuts are rising, make the glaze. Simmer heavy cream and slowly whisk in powdered sugar. Simmer for two minutes. Add vanilla and then whisk in butter. If the glaze is too thick, thin with a little hot water; if too thin, add more sugar.
Fry doughnuts at 350 degrees for about one minute or less on each side. Do not over-brown. Dip in glaze and serve.
To read about how Regina persevered to devise this doughnut recipe despite her doughnut-making fears, click here.