Pumpkin Doughnuts with Cinnamon Glaze

Word has reached me here in Rome that in my home state of Rhode Island, a marvelous, magical shop has appeared, by the name PVDonuts. The PV part refers to the city of Providence, where the store is located, while the donut part refers to the fact that, as you might have guessed, this is a doughnut shop. Let me cut to the chase: PVDonuts doesn't make just any doughnuts -- these are super fresh, made daily doughnuts in all sorts of flavors that change monthly and often reflect the seasons. There are classic doughnuts like glazed crueller, chocolate sprinkle, and powdered sugar, yes, but also other flavors like Chocolate Oreo, Cookie Butter, Lemon Trifle, Maple Banana Walnut, Birthday Cake, Apple Toffee, Cinnamon Bun, Dunkaroo, and Honey Sea Salt, among many, many others. PVDonuts hasn't been around long, but its doing remarkably well for itself -- I've heard that people wait in lines that stretch out the door, and not a single doughnut remains unsold at the end of the day. Its been featured in the Daily Mail, on Buzzfeed, and in Cosmopolitan magazine, to name just a few, and the founder and head baker isn't much older than me, which I find pretty cool. 

But this is the thing: I've never been to PVDonuts. Never! The last time I was in RI was for my brother's wedding, and time was short (family weddings rarely leave time for frivolous things like doughnuts). "PVDonuts!!" stayed sadly unscratched on my usual list of "places to go and people to see." The very first thing I'll do when home is make a trip to PVDonuts, but in the meantime, these doughnuts taunt me from all the way across the ocean, all the way from another continent, via their super active and ever updated Facebook and Instagram accounts. Their doughnuts are a feast for the eyes, perfectly glazed and frosted and garnished, proud and puffy and just begging to be eaten, needing nothing but perhaps a cup of coffee alongside. Have a look here:
Photo from https://www.facebook.com/pvdonuts/.
The equation went a little something like this then: the daily torture inspiration provided by PVDonuts, plus the arrival of October aka Pumpkin Spice Season equaled a doughnut craving that could not be satisfied here in Italy -- Italians do many things well, but doughnuts are not one of them -- leaving me no choice but to make my own doughnuts at home. The posts from PVDonuts about their seasonal Hazelnut Pumpkin Brown Butter Donuts, Pumpkin White Chocolate Donuts, and Pumpkin Cheesecake Donuts were, not so surprisingly, also a factor in my decision to take a stab at making my very own pumpkin doughnuts.

First things first, because I know what you’re thinking: doughnuts are actually remarkably easy to make -- really! Sure there are some steps involved, but it turns out that making and shaping doughnut dough is no harder than making and shaping the more familiar cookie dough. If you’re intimidated by a little frying, I get it, but don’t be! I conquered my fear of frying earlier this year and found that it’s really no harder than any other cooking method (tips here). On Sunday morning, I ended up with a batch of doughnuts that were rich and cake-y -- reminiscent of coffee cake, one tester pointed out -- and spiced just enough to let the pumpkin shine, scrumptious with a veil of shiny smooth cinnamon glaze over the top. They puffed up like magic when they hit the oil (it’s the little things) were a gorgeous, fiery orange color, and were exactly what one wants to be fed for breakfast on a chilly Fall day. I was pretty darn proud of them, and would like to take a moment to thank all those who ate one for humoring me as I hopped around excitedly saying things like "AREN'T THEY GOOD?! THEY'RE DELICIOUS, RIGHT?!" Ahem. And of course, grazie to PVDonuts for all the inspiration. As chance would have it, I'll be in Rhode Island this month for my umpteenth wedding this year, so it looks like I won't have to get in the kitchen for my next pumpkin doughnut fix -- see you in a few weeks, PVDonuts!

A couple of notes: If you're in Rome, you can find canned pumpkin at Castroni. If you're in Rome and you can't find buttermilk, no worries -- I used plain full-fat yogurt thinned with a tablespoon or two of milk and it worked just fine. If you go this route, you'll need the same quantity as described below (in grams that would be about 120 grams). Afraid of frying? Its really not so hard! I have some frying tips at the bottom of this post here. I recommend using a frying thermometer to test the temperature of the oil if you want to get the donuts just right. If you prefer, you can also finish these with Spiced Sugar, instead of Glaze, which is an option that Bon Appetit provided in the original recipe here. If you don't need so many doughnuts, feel free to halve this recipe, which is what I did, and ended up with about 10 doughnuts, which lasted about 10 minutes.

Want more pumpkin recipes? I've got these Pumpkin PopTarts, this Pumpkin Pie, these Pumpkin Pancakes, this Pumpkin Bread, this Pumpkin Spice French Toast, these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars, this Pumpkin Gingerbread Cake, and this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Praline Sauce. Looking for more doughnuts? I've got these castagnole di ricotta, which are sort of similar.


Ingredients for doughnuts:
3 1/2 cups (325 grams) all purpose flour 
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (200 grams) sugar
3 tablespoons (32 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (125ml + 1 tablespoon) buttermilk
1 cup (225 grams) canned pure pumpkin
Canola oil (for deep-frying)

Ingredients for Cinnamon Glaze: 
2 cups (260 grams) powdered sugar
A dash of cinnamon
A few tablespoons of whipping cream or milk

Whisk first 8 ingredients in medium bowl to blend.
Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until blended (mixture will be grainy). Beat in egg, then yolks and vanilla. Gradually beat in buttermilk; beat in pumpkin in 4 additions. Using rubber spatula, fold in dry ingredients in 4 additions, blending gently after each addition.
Cover with plastic; chill the dough in the fridge for 3 hours (I chilled mine overnight just because I wanted this ready to fry in the morning). When the time in the fridge is up, sprinkle 2 rimmed baking sheets lightly with flour (or do what I did and lightly flour a clean work surface). Press the dough on the floured surface out to a 1/2 inch thickness -- this will seem quite thin, but remember all that baking soda and baking powder you added -- these will puff up like magic as soon as they hit the hot oil.
Bon Appetit Magazine, the source of this recipe, recommends the following: using a 2 1/2-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out dough rounds. Using 1-inch-diameter round cutter, cut out center of each dough round to make doughnuts and doughnut holes. Alternatively, do what I did and cut the dough out using an empty Nutella jar (any jar with around a 2 1/2 inch diameter will do). Take the round of dough and pinch the middle with your pointer and thumb to make a hole, then stretch your fingers out a little to make the hole wider. Tada! You have a doughnut-shaped piece of dough. You won't have any doughnut holes, but I was okay with that.

However you shape them, arrange the doughnuts on your baking sheets. Repeat with remaining dough in 2 more batches. Gather dough scraps. Press out dough and cut out more doughnuts until all dough is used.

Line 2 baking sheets with several layers of paper towels. Pour oil into large deep skillet to depth of 1 1/2 inches. Attach deep-fry thermometer and heat oil to 365°F to 370°F.  Fry doughnuts, 3 or 4 at a time, until golden brown, adjusting heat to maintain temperature, about 1 minute per side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Cool completely.
For the glaze: Whisk powdered sugar and 4 tablespoons milk or whipping cream to blend. Whisk in additional milk or cream, 1 teaspoon at a time, to form medium thick glaze. Whisk in the cinnamon to taste. Dip the doughnuts into the glaze and arrange doughnuts, glazed side up, on racks. 
Let stand until glaze sets, at least 30 minutes. Makes 20-24 doughnuts and doughnut holes.
Recipe barely barely adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine, October 2004.

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