I recall when my husband Pierre immigrated here (Canada) in 2005 from Europe, he was fascinated by the Canadian obsession with Tim Hortons. He would without fail, cry out, “Quelle horreur!” every time we’d pass one. He couldn’t understand why Canadians would line up 24/7 for a large water-downed coffee and deep-fried, saccharin-drenched, yeast-leavened rings known as the donut.
Coming from Belgium he is definitely a food snob. Delicious and perfect Croissants and eclairs can be found on every street corner in Brussels. Here in Toronto, there are only a small handful of authentic Patiserrie/boulanger. Sure I get it. Tim Hortons looks and tastes nothing like Herman van Dender or Pierre Herme, but Tim Hortons is not bad. It’s consistent and for me it’s “comfort pastries” and an iconic Canadian experience.
In fact my love for “pastries” started probably in kindergarten when my mother bought me my first chocolate walnut cruller at Mister Donut (now Dunkin Donuts). I still remember that donut to this day. I was standing in line twirling around in my brown floral dress feeling like Liesel from The Sound of Music, when my mom passed me what I thought looked like feces. Of course being 4 years old I immediately said no. That’s when my dad firmly told me to at least try. The donut was bliss. The glaze, the crunch, and the soft chocolate dough whirled around in my mouth like a beautiful symphony.
35 years later what qualifies as a symphony in my mouth, of course has evolved and matured to refined pastries and sweets. But memories don’t refine, evolve or mature. They’re immortalized in your mind in the state that they were when you experienced it. Perhaps that’s why we Canadians are lining up for our fix of double double and a donut. Because it conjures up an intangible collage of familiarity, comfort and nostalgia. And that is powerful.
Okay. So donuts are not Pierre’s euphoria. But they’re mine and many other Canadians out there.
- 150G butter 1 1/4 cup unsalted butter
- 200 ml/ 8/10 cup milk
- 155 ml water
- 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 210 g/1 1/4 cup bread flour
- 5-6 eggs
- 250 g or 2 Cups confectioners sugar or icing sugar
- 60ml or 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Over medium heat, melt butter, then add the water, milk, sugar and salt and turn up heat to boil (high) stirring constantly
- Drop heat to medium and add the bread flour and stir constantly about 2 minutes until all ingredients are mixed together well
- Move the dough to a stand mixer bowl with a paddle attachment and set aside to cool
- Cut 18-20 parchment paper squares about 3.5 x 3.5 inches and brush with soft butter or oil
- On low speed, add one egg at a time until it becomes incorporated. Scrape sides after each egg. I've only used 5 eggs as they were large. Sometimes only 4 is required and sometimes 6 if the eggs are smaller
- The batter should be thick and sticky but able to be piped. Stiff peaks should form when pressing your thumb and index finger together with some of the batter.
- Pipe crullers with a star or round tip onto the greased parchment paper. I used a Wilton 6B star tip...however crullers are typically made with a larger tip.
- Heat oil in sauce pan about 3-4 inches high to about 375F with candy thermometer
- Drop crullers gently into oil face side down, the paper will gently lift away from the cruller as it drops down in the pot
- Cook for about 2 1/2 minutes each side totally 5-6 minutes
- Whisk together the sugar, milk and vanilla
- Dip the crullers (and or brush) in while they're still a bit warm but not hot
- Place on wire rack with parchment paper under to catch the drippings.
- Serve once the glaze has hardened.
- Crullers will collapse if taken out of oil too early.
- 375F on my stovetop was about #5 on the heat setting.
- Yields 20 thin crullers or 12 larger crullers