I don’t know whether it’s a universally-acknowledged culture, or it’s a situation unique to Singapore, but the food scene here, or rather, the dessert scene here takes on seasonal trends almost akin to runway fashion.
We’ve seen bubble tea shops sprouting behind every corner of a building, growing like tapioca balls lurking at the bottom of each plastic cup. There was a time when nothing quite filled the air like the scent of Mexican coffee buns, more renowned locally as Rotiboy, Roti Mum, or Roti-_____ (insert name of any other family member of choice). And then along came pretty cupcakes and dainty macarons, fuelled by pop culture (SATC’s Magnolia cupcakes, anyone?) leaving the sweet-toothed spoilt for choice, and the young adults rejoicing at desserts catered with style and elegance.
Don’t get me wrong, I embrace these waves of gastronomical delights, most definitely. My only gripe is that there are just certain things you can’t have too much of. Or perhaps, I can’t have too much of.
I remember being enthralled by trays of doughnuts lined perfectly in the bakery on my way to pre-school. They carried two flavours only; sugar and chocolate coated. My choice would always be the one with three small doughnut balls on a wooden skewer, smearing my cheeks silly with the dusting of fine sugar. I’ve always believed that having three doughnut balls would leave me satiated longer than one large doughnut. Besides, everything tastes better on a stick, or so my five-year-old self believed.
If you were to ask me then, would there ever be shops selling nothing but doughnuts in less than twenty years’ time, I would have laughed gleefully and scrambled to write that fictional story in my storyjournal.
If you had told me that there would be a frenzy of long queues lasting for more than an hour just to get doughnuts from a particular shop, I would have definitely called your bluff.
And if you insisted that there will come a time when I would find myself working near a doughnut shop, frolic with doughnut-loving colleagues, eat doughnuts at least once every week, and see myself swearing off doughnuts even after a year on, I would jump up and down excitedly at the thought, and say, “I’ll never get sick of doughnuts!”.
Sure, the concept behind the adage of “too much of a good thing” escapes a 5-year-old, but these homemade fluffy ones without all the fancy flavours, fillings and toppings, were certainly an exception. And they definitely witnessed me grabbing a second piece.
Chocolate Glazed Doughnuts
(adapted from Donna Hay’s Modern Classics 2)
4 teaspoons active dry yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
1 cup lukewarm milk
3 tbsp caster sugar
100g unsalted butter, melted
4 ¼ cups plain flour
vegetable oil, to deep fry
- Place the yeast, water, milk and one tablespoon of sugar in a bowl and set aside for 10 minutes. The mixture will start to foam, indicating that the yeast is active.
- Add the butter, flour, eggs and remaining sugar to the yeast mixture and mix with a butter knife until a sticky dough forms. Bring the dough together by kneading on a lightly floured surface.
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea-towel and set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for five minutes or until it feels smooth and elastic.
- Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until 1cm thick. Cut rounds using doughnut cutter. Place a tray lined with non-stick baking paper, cover with a tea-towel and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until risen.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan. Cook the doughnuts a few at a time until golden. Drain briefly on paper towel.
(recipe from Alton Brown)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup whole milk, warmed
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- Combine butter, milk, corn syrup, and vanilla in medium saucepan and heat over medium heat until butter is melted.
- Decrease the heat to low, add the chocolate, and whisk until melted.
- Turn off heat, add the powdered sugar, and whisk until smooth.
- Place the mixture over a bowl of warm water and dip the doughnuts immediately. Allow glaze to set for 30 minutes before serving.