I was scrolling through Facebook the other night and came across a post by the SDBWFF linking to a recipe for Gale Gand's ricotta doughnuts. I met Gale last year in the Chef of the Fest judging tent at the Grand Tasting on Saturday and photographed her dessert on Sunday at the Celebrity Chef Luncheon. She returns this year for the Wine Spectator Celebrity Chef Dinner & Big Bottle Live Auction and Gale Gand's Birthday Brunch with Friends.
I couldn't get these doughnuts off my mind and decided to make them Saturday morning. Next time, I'll make the batter the night before, fry them up just before my walk to Starbucks, and make a bunch of new friends over coffee. That way, I won't find myself alone with 20 unbelievably, tasty doughnuts and a drooling Trapper offering to help me eat them all. I forced myself to toss the remaining 17 in a basket, jump in the car, and make the rounds to mom's and a few friends' houses to share.
Gale says, "My Sicilian-American mother-in-law, Vita Seidita, taught me how to make these tender-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside doughnuts, which she often made for her family on Sunday mornings. All the kids would hover near the stove as she lifted the hot doughnuts out of the oil onto a brown paper bag for draining, and then their job was to roll them quickly in cinnamon sugar."
I halved the quantities in the original recipe, added the zest of one orange, and a pinch of nutmeg for a more "traditional doughnut taste" and opted to roll the doughnuts in cinnamon sugar rather than dusting with powdered sugar. I think the orange zest is a must, especially with the cinnamon sugar route. Super simple to make and totally addicting.
The batter is rather thick, so a small ice cream scoop works well.
Adapted from this recipe
Makes about 20 doughnuts
3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
8 ounces whole milk ricotta
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of nutmeg
Zest from one orange (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Canola oil for frying
Cinnamon sugar for rolling (1/3 cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon)
1. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add sugar, ricotta, flour, baking powder, orange zest and vanilla extract and stir together until combined, being careful not to over mix the batter.
2. In a small bowl, stir together cinnamon and sugar and set aside.
3. Heat 2 to 3 inches of canola oil in a deep, heavy pot to 325°F. Drop the batter by small ice cream scoopfuls or small spoonfuls (use 2 teaspoons) into the oil and fry for 3 minutes, turning often, until golden brown on each side. Fry the doughnuts in 3-4 batches to avoid crowding the pot. Lift out the doughnuts with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels or a brown paper bag to drain briefly.
4. Immediately roll doughnuts in cinnamon sugar. Serve while still warm.
Do-Ahead: You can prepare the batter up to one day ahead, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until you’re ready to fry, but you will have to increase the frying time slightly to compensate for the colder batter.