Jelly Donuts

Ingredients

  • envelopes active dry yeast
  • 1/2 Cup  warm water
  • 1 Cup  warm milk
  • 3/4 Cups  sugar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Teaspoon  salt
  • 4 Cups  all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting baking sheets or surface
  • 1/3 Cup  butter, softened
  • 5 Cups  vegetable or canola oil for frying, plus more for coating a bowl
  • One  13.5-ounce jar strawberry jelly, fruit jelly or jam
  •   Powdered sugar, for finishing

Jelly-filled donuts have an interesting history. They are variously called Berliners by German and paczki by Poles. No one really knows where or how they originated. Although some trace it to a 1485 cookbook, Kuchenmeisterei (Mastery of the Kitchen), which gives a recipe consisting of jam sandwiched between two rounds of yeast dough bread and deep-fried in lard. Then, sometime later, someone got the idea of injecting jelly into deep-fried donuts. In the upper Midwest, jelly donuts are called "jam busters, and are extremely popular. If you're fan of any kind of donuts, these suckers are delicious.

Directions

In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water and let it stand for about 5 minutes or until foamy.

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour. Mix the ingredients until smooth and soft but not sticky. If using a mixer, mix on low speed for a few minutes until a shaggy dough forms. Add the butter, increase speed to medium, and mix until dough is smooth.

Grease another large bowel with oil. Form the dough into a ball. Place dough in the bowl, turning to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Set aside in a warm spot and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.

Lightly flour a baking sheet or surface (a large wooden square block is perfect for this). Turn the dough onto the floured surface and, using a rolling pin, roll out until about ½-inch thick. Using a lightly floured 2-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible (should have 25 or more). Place on a lightly floured sheet or surface, spacing them apart. Again, loosely cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 20-30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a deep-fryer, large skillet, or large pot to 350 degrees. Using a flat spatula, carefully slide the dough rounds into the hot oil and, working in batches to avoid overcrowding, fry until they rise to the surface, then turn over and fry until puffy and golden brown (2-3 minutes). Drain on paper towels.

When the donuts have cooled, using a paring knife, cut a small slit in the side of the donut, and fill this center with jelly (about 1 tablespoon), using a pastry injector, syringe, piping bag, or small spoon. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

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