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The Delectable World of South African Donuts: Crafting the Perfect Doughssant

South African cuisine boasts a rich tapestry of flavors, textures, and culinary delights, all owing to the country's diverse cultural heritage. One such delight that has captured the hearts and taste buds of many is the Doughssant – a scrumptious fusion of a donut and a croissant. Originating from Cape Town, this indulgent treat is known for its flaky layers and irresistible donut-like taste. In this article, we'll take you on a step-by-step journey to making the perfect Doughssant, right in the comfort of your own kitchen.
For the Dough:
• 4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup granulated sugar
• 1 tablespoon instant yeast
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup whole milk, warmed
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
• 2 large eggs
For the Butter Block:
• 2 cups unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
For the Frying and Coating:
• Vegetable oil, for frying
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1. Prepare the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, instant yeast, and salt. Whisk the dry ingredients until evenly mixed. In a separate bowl, whisk together the warm milk, melted butter, and eggs. Gradually pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring until a soft dough forms. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let it rise for approximately 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
2. Prepare the Butter Block: In a medium mixing bowl, combine the chilled, cubed butter and 1/4 cup of flour. Use a pastry blender or your hands to incorporate the flour into the butter until a smooth mixture forms. Shape the butter mixture into a square, approximately 6 inches by 6 inches, and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Laminate the Dough: Roll out the risen dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch by 12-inch square. Place the chilled butter block in the center of the dough square, with the corners of the butter block touching the midpoints of the dough's sides. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter block, sealing the edges to encase the butter completely. Roll out the dough into a 10-inch by 20-inch rectangle.
4. Fold and Chill: With the long side of the dough facing you, fold the bottom third of the dough up and the top third down, like folding a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat the rolling and folding process two more times. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
5. Shape the Doughssants: After the dough has chilled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface into a 16-inch by 20-inch rectangle. Using a 3-inch round cutter, cut out circles of dough. Place the dough circles on parchment-lined baking sheets, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let them rise for 30 minutes.
6. Fry the Doughssants: In a deep fryer or large, heavy-bottomed pot, heat about 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350°F (180°C). Carefully lower the doughssants into the hot oil, frying them in batches to avoid overcrowding. Fry each doughssant for 2-3 minutes per
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side, or until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the doughssants from the oil and transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate to drain any excess oil.
7. Coat the Doughssants: In a shallow dish, combine 1 cup of granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, mixing well. While the doughssants are still warm, roll them in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat evenly. Allow the doughssants to cool slightly on a wire rack before serving.
8. Optional Fillings and Glazes: To elevate your Doughssants to the next level, consider adding a filling or glaze. Popular options include chocolate or vanilla pastry cream, fruit preserves, or dulce de leche. To fill your Doughssants, use a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip to pipe your chosen filling into the center of each pastry. For a glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and your desired flavorings (such as vanilla extract or cocoa powder) to create a smooth, pourable consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled Doughssants and allow it to set before serving.
Making Doughssants at home is a labor of love, but the end result is well worth the effort. These flaky, tender pastries offer the perfect balance between the classic donut and the delicate croissant. As you master the art of making Doughssants, feel free to experiment with different fillings and glazes to make this South African treat uniquely your own. Whether you're sharing these delightful pastries with friends and family or indulging in a solo treat, the Doughssant is sure to become a cherished addition to your culinary repertoire.