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A Quintessential New York Doughnut Shop Shares Its Recipe

Plus: the trick to a perfectly craggy old-fashioned doughnut top

Doughnuts are clearly having a moment, and in New York City, that means lines out the door at Dough, a Brooklyn-based shop founded by chef Fany Gerson in 2010. Dough’s doughnuts are huge, brightly colored, and creatively flavored (think: hibiscus, passion fruit, and dulce de leche). In just a few years, they've garnered an avid fan base across the city.

But pastry lovers outside of New York can now get in on the Dough action as well, using chef Gerson's recipe for lemon cake doughnuts. Watch the video above for a play-by-play from Gerson, plus tips for adding in layers and acing the look of an old-fashioned. Follow along with the doughnut and lemon glaze recipes, below.

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Sour Cream Lemon Cake Doughnuts

Makes 6–8 doughnuts (plus a few doughnut holes)

2 ¼ cups pastry flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoon salt
¾ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons butter (1 ½ ounces), room temperature
3 lemons, zested (reserve ⅓ of zest and lemons for glaze)
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
⅔ cup sour cream
all purpose flour, for rolling out
vegetable oil, for frying

Sift the pastry flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together and set aside.

Cream the butter with sugar in a mixer with the paddle attachment until it is sandy and slightly creamy (alternatively, you can do this by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon). Add the lemon zest and mix until well combined.

Add the egg yolks until incorporated. Add the sour cream and mix at medium speed until it is all combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.

Lower the speed of the mixer slightly, and add the dry ingredients gradually, mixing until all ingredients are just combined (the dough will be a little sticky). Put the dough on a lightly floured surface and mix gently by hand to form into a uniform mound of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour (up to overnight).

Once the dough has chilled, roll it into a rectangle about ¾ inch thick. Flip one third of the rectangle towards the center, and then flip other end toward the center, the way you would fold a letter. Flip 90 degrees, re-roll into a rectangle, and repeat. Allow to rest for 5 -10 minutes.

Meanwhile prepare a sheet pan with a rack and another sheep pan with parchment paper.

Once the dough has rested, roll out until it is about ½ to ⅓ inch thick. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter to cut out the doughnuts and a smaller one to cut holes. Gather any scraps, and patch together instead of kneading together, rolling out and folding once more. Cut as many doughnuts as you can and use the rest for holes.

Fill a medium-large saucepan with enough oil to be about 4–5-inches deep and heat until its 325°F.

When the oil has reached 325°F, carefully slide several doughnuts into the oil making sure not to overcrowd the pot. When the doughnuts float to the surface of the oil, let them cook until they are golden on the bottom and center, about 60–80 seconds, and gently flip over. Fry until they are golden brown on this side as well. Using a slotted spoon, remove from the fryer onto the prepared pan with the rack.

Continue frying the rest of doughnuts and holes making sure the oil comes back to temperature between batches before frying.

Lemon Glaze

3½ cups confectioners sugar, sifted
½ teaspoon salt
3 lemons, juiced
hot water (as needed)

Mix the confectioners sugar, salt, juice and reserved lemon zest with a whisk until it’s thoroughly combined. If you want the glaze to be thinner, add 1–2 tablespoons of hot water (I prefer the glaze to have the consistency of molasses). Cover and set aside.

Once all doughnuts are fried, gently dip the warm doughnuts in the glaze and return to rack to allow the excess glaze drip off and set.


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