Chris Kimball, founder and editor of Cook’s Illustrated and host of PBS’ America’s Test Kitchen, unearthed over 150 unforgettable heirloom recipes in America’s Best Lost Recipes. In a 2007 nationwide contest, people submitted over 2,800 recipes for consideration. The result is 300 classic American recipes inspired by convenience, great names or family recipes.
On the Cook’s Country website, the editors add this note explaining why this recipe works. If the recipe title of Naked Ladies with Their Legs Crossed doesn’t catch your eye, the sugary tinge of these fried crullers will. Using mashed potatoes in the dough gave the Naked Ladies with Their Legs Crossed recipe a crisp crust and soft, chewy interior that makes this fried dough a winner.
Listen to Christopher Kimball talk about how the contest was conducted and what other recipes were included below:
Naked Ladies with Their Legs Crossed (Spiced Crullers)
(Courtesy of the Editors of Cook’s Country Magazine, America’s Best Lost Recipes)
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons milk
1¼ cups sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 quarts vegetable oil
Bring the potato and water to cover to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat and simmer until the potato is tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potato, then mash until smooth. Let cool completely, at least 30 minutes.
Transfer ½ cup mashed potato to a medium bowl (discard the remaining potato) and beat in the egg, milk, ½ cup of the sugar, and vanilla until combined. Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the potato mixture. Stir to form a moist and sticky dough.
Working on a heavily floured work surface, roll the dough into an 18 by 14-inch rectangle about ¼-inch thick. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then cut each half crosswise into 1½ -inch wide strips; make a slit in each strip, and twist to shape the dough to resemble crossed legs. Transfer the crullers to a floured baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to fry. (The crullers may be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.)
Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until the temperature reaches 350°F. Carefully lower 6 crullers into the hot oil and fry, maintaining a temperature between 325°F and 350°F, until crisp and deep brown on both sides, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the crullers to a plate lined with paper towels and drain for 3 minutes. Toss the crullers in a bowl with the remaining sugar and transfer to a serving plate. Repeat with the remaining crullers, regulating the oil temperature as necessary. Serve.