What’s not to love about Easter?
Pastel colours, tiny, fluffy animals, family get-togethers, happy children, Cadbury Mini Eggs and chocolate treasure hunts… Dreams are basically made of this stuff.
Which makes it the perfect holiday to celebrate with children or, if you don’t have any of those handy, to act like children. Paint some eggshells, plan an absurdly convoluted Easter egg hunt and eat waaay too much candy because whatever else this holiday may mean for you – religiously, emotionally or otherwise – it is also a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the long weekend by having some fun.
These Hot Cross doughnut holes are my idea of fun. I spent hours researching traditional Hot Cross Buns and doughnut recipes to ensure that I got these little guys right. And you know what? I think I did. The Grand Marnier soaked raisins and orange zest infused sugar lend the doughnut bites a great citrus flavor while the cinnamon, nutmeg and clove spiced dough give them a nutty warmth. If you have ever had the good fortunate to enjoy a Kouign Amann from Dominique Ansel’s stunning bakery or from any reputable patisserie in France, these doughnuts remind me of a layman’s version of the more complicated Breton pastry. Making these is also a delightful activity to do with your kids as mixing the sticky dough and plopping it into the oil (from a safe distance) is good fun.
Here are a few other awesome Easter recipes that inspired me to have fun in the kitchen this weekend: I looked to Gaby ( I know, great name!) when I was trying to decide what to make for Easter Brunch and I drooled over this Spring Cheesecake, this version of ‘healthy’ chocolate Easter eggs and these elegant lavender mini cakes by the amazing Michelle at Hummingbird High.
If you don’t want to use the liquor to plump and flavor the raisins, replace it with boiling water flavored with orange blossom (if you have it). Also, I know that frying in oil can be daunting so aim to keep the oil just hot enough to turn the doughnut holes a deep golden brown after 2 minutes on each side; any longer and it will be dry or too dark; any less and the batter will not cook through.
And finally, Happy Easter!!
- ¼ cup raisins
- ¼ cup Grand Marnier, or another orange flavoured liquor
- 1 orange, zested
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 2 cups flour
- 4½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup salted butter, melted
- 5 cups vegetable oil, for frying
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon cloves
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon milk
- Soak the raisins in the Grand Marnier for at least 30 minutes until partially re-hydrated.
- In a large bowl, combine the sugar and orange zest until thoroughly incorporated; if you want to intensify the flavor leave it for 30 minutes. Add the spices and mix thoroughly before adding the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In another bowl, whisk together the milk and egg. Strain the raisins, discard the liquid, and add them to the milk mixture. Slowly, add the liquid to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix fully before adding the melted butter. The dough should be wet and sticky.
- Heat the oil in a deep saucepan until a thermometer reads 350 degrees or the oil spits when you flick water into it. Line a drying rack with paper towel and place it within easy reach to transfer the fried doughnut holes to. Mix the sugar topping ingredients together in bowl or deep dish and place beside your station.
- Use a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to form each doughnut hole and drop the batter gently into the hot oil. Be careful not to crowd the saucepan. Leave each side submerged in the oil for approximately 2 minutes, or until both sides are a deep golden brown. Transfer to the paper towel lined rack. When the doughnut holes are cool enough to touch, toss them in the sugar topping mixture.
- Prepare the glaze by stirring together the milk and powdered sugar. Apply a glazed cross shape to the cooled sugar rolled doughnut holes with either a paint brunch, chop stick or piping bag (or anything else you can think of).
- These are best enjoyed immediately but will keep for up to 3 days unrefrigerated.