I’m filing “make crullers” under Don’t Know Why It Took Me So Long.
Right next to “delete Comic Sans from my computer altogether, out of principle.”
Fun fact: I distinctly remember that a crullers recipe was one of the first things I pinned. I’ve long been intimidated by this project; crullers look so French and so impossibly fancy on bakery shelves. Practically sneering at plain old donuts as if to say, “Sprinkles? Tres precious. Where are my cigarettes?”
I’m happy to report that this was not only easy, but also downright fun–and this is coming from someone who thinks that cupcakes are too much work. Also, it’s true that frying has always made me nervous, but I’m getting over it (finally getting a fire extinguisher has helped, I won’t lie). Safety, gang. It instills confidence and removes barriers to fancy fried dessert–fancy fried dessert that is airy, fluffy, crunchy, slightly sweet, lemon-tart, and boozy simultaneously. Worth it, I’d say. I’d say it rather loudly.
I’ve made pate a choux before, for gougeres–I mixed it by hand then, and I’d go that route again, honestly. A hand mixer couldn’t quite handle this, but your sweet guns totally can. You just have to work quickly to make sure the egg doesn’t cook upon coming into contact with the hot dough–that’s really the only tricky part.
As for the piping–this dough is slooowwww to pipe. It’ll take its time getting out of the bag, allowing you maximum control to make decent-looking, somewhat uniform circles. Or hearts, stars, and horseshoes, clovers and blue moons. I’m not the boss of you.
Most recipes will tell you to pre-cut squares of parchment to pipe the dough onto, but I find it more convenient to pipe them all onto a big sheet, then cut out the squares as you fry. Again, I’m not the boss of you–find your cruller groove, and own it.
Then, you just drop these babies in hot oil, fish out the parchment with tongs, and hang out while they get golden-brown. If the oil gets too far above 370 degrees, just drop another fresh cruller or two in, or remove the pot from the heat for a little bit. If it gets too cold, just hang tight between batches and let the oil it come back to where it needs to be. Honestly, this used to be a big part of why I hated frying–it seems like a neverending battle at first to control the temperature. Once you relax, it’s really all so simple.
That. That golden brown is what you’re looking for.
In no time, you have a mountain of fresh-fried treats to glaze. Glaze isn’t meant to be pretty, much like that fabulous bedhead hairstyle every French lady (and the occasional French lad) wears so well.
Anyway. Whether it’s cruller-frying or skydiving or parting your hair on the other side, I hope you do something this weekend that you’ve never done before! Unless you don’t have a fire extinguisher. Get one, and a helmet, THEN get crazy, guys. P.S. I’m not cool anymore.
Warm wishes for an adventurous weekend,
- 1 cup water
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3 large eggs, divided
- 1 to 2 egg whites, slightly beaten
- Vegetable oil for frying
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a rolling boil over medium high heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until completely incorporated, then continue to cook and stir for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, or just a bowl if using a hand mixer or mixing by hand. Note: I used a hand mixer, but it could barely handle the thick dough--next time I think I'll just mix by hand with a wooden spoon (hello, arm workout).
- Stir the mixture by hand for about 1 minute to allow it to cool. Then mix on medium speed and add the first egg, mixing until completely incorporated, followed by the remaining eggs one at a time, completely incorporating each before adding the next.
- Add the egg whites, a little at a time, until the dough becomes smooth and glossy and will hold a slight peak when pinched (only add as much as needed for this). Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a 1/2-inch star piping tip.
- Pipe circles of dough, 2 inches in diameter or so, onto a sheet of parchment paper, then use scissors to cut the paper into individual squares with a cruller on each (alternatively, you can pre-cut the paper into squares and pipe a cruller onto each, but I think it's easier to pipe first).
- To fry the crullers, heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until it reaches 370 degrees Fahrenheit. When the oil is hot, place one cruller at a time in the oil, paper side up. Paper will slide off the crullers--remove the paper with tongs.
- Fry the crullers on each side until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.
- To make the glaze, combine confectioner's sugar, lemon juice, and bourbon and stir until smooth. Dip the top of each cruller in glaze and set on a rack until glaze is set. Makes 15-20 crullers.