When we were little, my sister Yael and I would often hang out with our aunts Cucus (her real name is Lina, but I don’t think we knew that back then) and Alex. They liked to take us to the parque España, one of the few parks in Mexico City, and I always made sure to ask my mom whether she needed us to drop off or pick up anything from the dry cleaner, which was only a few blocks away from the park. I was such a good daughter ... Truth be told, there was an ulterior motive. Across the street was a wonderful bakery, and I would always get strawberry jelly–filled doughnuts with a sugary topping. Invariably, I would squirt jelly all over myself and get my aunts in trouble, because my mother warned them not to give us sweets too often. The bakery, unfortunately, no longer exists, but my memory of what those doughnuts tasted like still does—even though the last time I had them was almost two decades ago. They are a bit time-consuming to make but well worth the effort. You can substitute the jam for a store-bought kind, but if you happen to be making these during strawberry season, I highly suggest you give it a try because it is quite easy and absolutely delicious! —Fany Gerson
Test Kitchen Notes
Adapted from “My Sweet Mexico” Cookbook by Ten Speed Press —The Editors
- Prep time 20 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- makes 3½ dozen
1 1/4 cups
whole milk, divided
plus 1½ teaspoons active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups
bread flour (or a mixture of half all-purpose flour, half bread flour), divided
granulated sugar, plus more for rolling
vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
large egg yolks
stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
Vegetable oil, for frying
- Strawberry Jam and Assembly
fresh lemon or lime juice
- In a small pot, heat about ½ cup of the milk until warm but not hot, about 90°F. Transfer to a small bowl, add the yeast, and lightly stir to combine. Let sit for about 5 minutes, until foamy.
- In the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix 4 cups of the flour with the sugar. Add the foamy yeast mixture and scrape in the vanilla. Add the remaining ¾ cup of the milk, the eggs, egg yolks, and salt. Mix on a low speed, then once it starts coming together, add the butter. Increase the speed to medium and mix for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky. Add more flour if needed (½ to ¾ cup) just so the dough doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl.
- Lightly grease a large bowl (the dough will double, so make sure you have enough room), preferably with nonstick oil spray, or a spread a little neutral oil, like canola or vegetable, with a paper towel. Arrange the dough in the bowl and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Set in a warm area (about 70°F) for 2 to 3 hours, until doubled in size. Alternatively, let it rise for 1 hour, wrap in plastic, and let rise overnight.
- The risen dough will feel very soft. Bring the edges to the center and turn over a few times. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough to about ½ inch thick. Cut out 2½-inch circles and arrange on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Cover lightly with a towel.
- Gather the scraps, reroll (if you feel like the dough is shrinking as you're trying to roll it out, wrap and refrigerate for about 10 minutes), and cut in the same manner. Leave a few pieces of dough of the same thickness to test the oil.
- Let the dough rise in a warm area for 45 to 75 minutes, until doubled in size and that when you touch it, it springs back.
- When ready to fry, fill a large deep pan or pot with oil. Heat over medium-high until an instant-read thermometer registers 350°F.
- Cut parchment into squares so that each donut can sit on an individual square of paper. Carefully drop the donut into the oil and immediately remove the parchment with tongs. It's best to fry in batches and not overcrowd the pan.
- Fry for about 2 minutes, until golden brown, then turn and continue to fry for 2 minutes more.
- Let drain on paper towels for about 2 minutes. Roll the donuts in sugar, then let cool before filling.
- Strawberry Jam and Assembly
- Slice or coarsely chop the strawberries and transfer to a small nonreactive pot. Add the sugar, lemon juice, and salt and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved. Adjust the heat and bring the mixture to a constant soft boil, skimming off the foam as it builds. Continue to cook until the jam tightly grabs a spoon or that it sets when you put a little bit on a cold plate.
- Fill a pastry bag with a small flat tip (about ½ inch). Spoon the jam into the bag. Insert the tip into the side or bottom of each donut and fill.
- These are best served soon after they're done.