JoAnn Cianciulli's latest book is L.A.'s Original Farmers Market Cookbook: Meet me at Third and Fairfax. The market started as dirt lot where farmers brought their trucks to sell produce. Now it's home to stalls and shops featuring foods from around the world.
Bob's Caramel and Chocolate Glazed Cake Doughnut
Adapted by JoAnn Cianciulli
Makes about 1 dozen doughnuts, makes 1 1/2 cups each glaze
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Canola oil, for frying
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts
To make the doughnuts: Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, milk, and butter until well blended. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, stirring just until incorporated into a soft, sticky dough. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour to make it easier to roll and cut. (Dough can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.)
To make the caramel glaze: Combine the sugar and water in a heavy pot over medium heat; it should look like wet sand. Swirl the pot over the burner to dissolve the sugar completely. Cook until the sugar melts into a syrup and begins to turn golden, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook until the color deepens to medium amber, about 5 minutes more. Be careful, the sugar is really hot at this point. Remove from the heat and slowly add the cream a little at a time. It will sputter a bit so stand back as you pour. When all the bubbling has died down, stir to smooth out to a medium-thick glaze. Cool to room temperature. Mix in additional cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, to thin out the caramel if it gets too thick.
For the chocolate glaze: Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Turn off the heat and mix in the confectioners’ sugar, it will be very thick and lumpy. Gradually stir in the boiling water to smooth it out. Set aside.
Heat 3-inches of oil to 360 degrees F. in a countertop electric fryer, cast-iron skillet, or deep pot.
Pat and roll the dough out onto a floured surface to about 1/2-inch thick. Using a large doughnut cutter or 4-inch ring cutter (use a smaller ring to cut out the hole,) stamp out rounds as close together as possible. Fry a couple of doughnuts at a time, keeping an eye on maintaining the oil temperature. As the doughnuts puff up and rise to the surface, flip them over with a slotted spoon, skimmer, or chopsticks; about 2 minutes on each side. Carefully remove the doughnuts from the oil and drain on several layers of paper towels or a brown paper bag. Cool slightly to handle.
Set up an assemble line of the caramel, peanuts, and chocolate glaze. First, dip the tops of the doughnuts in the caramel glaze to coat lightly. Now, dip into the nuts and then back into the caramel. Finally, finish with a dip into the chocolate glaze. Place the doughnuts face up on a platter or baking pan. Let stand until the glaze is set, about 15 minutes.
Melting Pot Food Tours offer tours of the Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax. Sisters Lisa and Diane Scalia have a rich knowledge of the market's history and of the current vendors. They also lead tours of Old Pasadena.