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Tamal Ray’s Easter weekend recipes: glazed doughnuts and crack pie | Life and style

rooz Tamal Ray’s Easter weekend recipes: glazed doughnuts and crack pie | Life and style image

I t didn’t take long for my new year, new me health kick to fall by the wayside – this month’s recipes are as far removed from last column’s healthy noodle pots as you can get. But they are ideal for the long, sugar-filled Easter weekend.
The inspiration came from a recent trip to New York. Cast your mind back to November 2016; you might recall the US being gripped by a minor political event. It’s fair to say the Donald Trump result came as a bit of a shock; we got kicked out of a bar because my friends were crying too much (“Guys, this is my livelihood,” reasoned the bartender). Still, New York City was sufficiently amazing to distract from the imminent apocalypse. I was most excited by the food. The city boasts an impressive culinary legacy, having invented, or at least popularised, all manner of foods. These include the eponymous cheesecake, bagels, pizza and pretzels, plus modern classics such as the cronut, a croissant/doughnut hybrid .
I had wondered if there would be a unifying trend in modern New York baking. Having spent days scouring various bakeries, the key themes in the city seemed to be: heavy on the fat and sugar; bold flavours; and a refreshing lack of restraint. Take crack pie, a creation of David Chang’s Momofuku Milk Bar . I ate it for the first time in a little restaurant in Manchester. Our waitress stared off into the distance dreamily, trying, unsuccessfully, to describe it. “Oh that …” she muttered, eyes glazed over, “it’s really … amazing …”
The crack is not, as you might assume, a reference to its appearance, but rather the notion that it’s as addictive as the class-A drug after which it is named. Trying to describe it now, I sympathise with that Mancunian host; it’s a tricky thing to pin down. With a filling of eggs, milk and sugar, I suppose it’s a custard tart, but it’s the strangest one I have had. On top of an oaty biscuit sits a filling so full of sugar, butter and salt that it seems designed to troll dietitians. The result, though, is worthy of the hype. Gooey, chewy, sweet and salty, it’s perfect for pudding (for your tastebuds, if not your arteries).
Elsewhere in New York, doughnuts, with flavours such as hibiscus and salted caramel, have made a major comeback. I toyed with a baked version, but a proper doughnut needs to be fried for that thin, crisp exterior and fluffy inner chewiness. (The hole in a doughnut, in case you were wondering, isn’t merely an aesthetic invention, but helps the dough to cook evenly in hot oil.) Doughnuts are surprisingly simple to make and, eaten fresh, they are a real treat.
Raspberry and grapefruit doughnuts Choose your frying pan carefully. Oil is fantastic at picking up stray flavours; my first batch had distinctly fishy undertones. As always when dealing with pots of boiling oil, be very careful and make sure any children and pets are out of the kitchen.
Makes six doughnuts and 10 doughballs
300g white bread flour
7g (1 sachet) fast-action yeast
¼tsp table salt
20g caster sugar
2 eggs
70ml milk
60g unsalted butter, softened
500ml vegetable oil
For the glaze
150g raspberries
1 red grapefruit, juiced
300g ready-made fondant icing
First, make the dough by mixing together the flour, yeast, salt and sugar, then adding the eggs, milk and butter. Knead for five to 10 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough, then place in a bowl greased with a little oil and cover. Once the dough has doubled in volume, oil your worksurface and a rolling pin, then roll out the dough to make a rectangle roughly 18cm by 27cm.
Use a 9cm round cookie-cutter to cut out six circles and a 3cm cutter to chop out the middle. Carefully transfer the rings and balls to well-oiled trays and cover. Chop up the remaining scraps of dough into more balls; these will be just as tasty, if slightly deformed. Once the dough has again doubled in size, heat the oil to 170C in a large saucepan. Move your tray close to the surface of the oil and, two or three at a time, gently slide in the doughnuts. They should take about 45 seconds on each side to reach a lovely hazelnut colour. Remove from the oil, cool on a wire rack and repeat the process until all the dough is cooked. (The balls will cook faster and it’s tricky to flip them, so you may want to shallow fry them before adding more oil to fry the doughnuts.)
For the glaze, mash the raspberries, then sieve finely to remove the seeds. Add the grapefruit juice and boil the mix until it has halved in volume to concentrate the fruit flavour.
Break up the fondant into small chunks in a bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time, pausing to stir – it will quickly thicken – then stir in 60g of the fruit puree. Keep stirring until it’s smooth and glossy (it starts off looking curdled; if that doesn’t change, microwave the mix for a few seconds before stirring again). To serve, dip the doughnuts in the glaze and garnish with grapefruit zest.
Chocolate crack pie
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Moreish … Tamal’s chocolate crack pie. Photograph: Christopher Thomond for the Guardian
The original is hard to beat, but this chocolate version comes close. Don’t skip the freezing stage; it’s crucial to achieving the chewiness of the final pie. Make sure you bake it in a metal tin; the thick, ceramic versions take too long to heat up.
For the biscuit base
75g unsalted butter plus 2tbsp
50g light brown sugar
30g caster sugar
20g plain flour
10g cocoa
100g rolled oats
¼tsp table salt
1tsp egg (from the large egg used for the filling, below)
⅛tsp baking powder
1 pinch bicarbonate of soda
For the filling
100g unsalted butter
100g milk chocolate
80g brown sugar
100g caster sugar
15g cornflour
½tsp table salt
85ml double cream
1 large egg
Pre-heat the oven to 180C fan (gas mark 6). Cream together 75g butter and the sugars and add the flour, cocoa, oats, salt, egg and raising agents for the base.
Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper, and spread the mix to a thickness of about 5mm. Bake for 13 minutes and then set aside.
Once the biscuit is cool, break it up and place the pieces in a strong bag. Bash into crumbs with a rolling pin then add 2tbsp melted butter for a stickier mix.
Line the base of a loose-bottomed 25cm (10in) tart tin with greaseproof paper. Use the biscuit crumbs to line the base and sides of the tin. Pat the crumbs down firmly. This bit is fiddly and you will probably wonder if it’s worth the effort. It is.
Make the filling by melting the butter and chocolate together in a pan over a low heat. Stir regularly to stop the chocolate from burning.
Mix the sugars, cornflour and salt, then pour in the melted butter and chocolate. Stir in the cream and then the beaten egg. Pour the filling into the prepared tin and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges of the filling are starting to thicken but the middle is still very wobbly.
Set the tin aside until cool, then carefully remove the pie on to a plate. Freeze overnight, then thaw in the fridge before you are ready to serve. Enjoy cold with a scoop of greek yoghurt.

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