Hot damn, last week was a WEEK for me! Yeesh. I’d had all these big blog plans, things like sharing a few more Thanksgiving-appropriate desserts and whatnot, but life just blew up in my face instead. I’ll fill in details tomorrow, because today is about fulfilling promises – specifically a promise regarding Thanksgiving leftovers, in the form of cranberry sauce.
I will dare to say that this may be the most insane and awesome way to use up your leftover cranberry sauce. Yes, you will stuff it into a homemade doughnut; but only after you’ve piped a homemade foie gras mousse into said doughnut. !!! What’d I tell ya?
This recipe is really incredible. First off, it’s a fantastic basic old-fashioned doughnut template you need in your baking repertoire. Secondly, creative and unique are total understatements and don’t suffice as adequate descriptions, but they might have to do. The proper words might not yet exist in the English language (sadly the only language I completely know). You have to take at least two bites to get the whole experience here. The first bite hits you with warm, pillowy doughnut texture and the tart bite and jelly-like texture of the cranberry sauce. The second bite mixes the sweet-tart cranberry sauce with the really savory/salty foie gras, which has a wonderful contrasting texture from the doughnut itself: very soft and thick and velvety against the chewy breadiness.
All in all, I gotta say this is simply THE best vehicle for transforming your old cranberry sauce from last week. Amazing!
Source: slightly adapted from The Laws of Cooking: And How To Break Them by Justin Warner
FOIE GRAS MOUSSE:
4 oz. foie gras grade B, roughly chopped
About 7 seedless green grapes
1 small shallot, diced
½ tbs orange liqueur
1 tsp kosher salt
2 tbs heavy cream
½ cup warm water
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
4 tbs unsalted butter
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable or canola oil, for frying
¼ cup leftover cranberry sauce, blitzed in a small food processor so it is smooth enough to be piped through a plastic storage baggie, if necessary
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
First make the FOIE GRAS MOUSSE: put the foie gras in a skillet over low heat. Once some fat has rendered and pooled, about 3 minutes, add the grapes and shallots to the skillet. Cook until the shallots soften and the foie gras begins to melt and darken in color, about 5 minutes. Add the orange liqueur and cook 1 minute more.
Carefully pour the hot mixture into your blender and add the salt. With the blender running on a low setting (if possible), slowly pour the heavy cream in and increase the speed to high until combined.
Transfer the mousse to a bowl and store in the refrigerator, uncovered, until cool to the touch. Pour or scrape the mousse into a plastic food storage baggie, or a disposable pastry bag, but do not cut the tip yet. Tie or seal the bag and allow to chill in the refrigerator until completely cooled, at least 1 hour.
Now make the DOUGHNUTS: add the sugar to the warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit until the yeast has foamed, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pot and let cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients. Once the yeast has foamed up, add the dry ingredients to the stand mixer bowl and slowly combine with the dough hook. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides. Continue kneading the dough on low, then gradually add the butter, then add the beaten eggs one-half at a time. Once the dough is uniform, turn it out onto a clean, floured work surface and knead just until smooth, about 10 turns. Take care not to over-knead or you will end up with a tough doughnut.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set the bowl on a heating pad set to its lowest setting and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Flip the risen dough out onto a floured surface, knead once, and regrease the bowl. Flip the dough back into the greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise again on the heating pad until doubled, about 1 hour more.
Fill your deep fryer or a large Dutch oven halfway with the oil. Bring the oil to 350 F. Lightly sprinkle a sheet pan with flour and set aside. Place a cooling rack on another sheet pan and also set aside.
Turn the dough out onto a clean floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, very gently roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/2 an inch. Cut out circles of the dough with a pint-sized drinking glass or biscuit cutter of about the same size. The recipe instructs not to reroll the scraps, as those doughnuts will be tough. I discarded that dough. Place the circles onto the floured baking sheet, cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for 10 minutes.
When the oil is up to temperature, working in batches, drop the doughnuts into the hot oil and fry until risen on one side, about 1 minute. Then flip and cook the other side another minute. Use a spider to remove them from the hot oil, then place them on the cooling rack lined sheet pan. Allow to cool slightly.
Transfer your leftover cranberry sauce to a pastry bag or plastic food storage baggie and snip off the tip.
If your doughnuts are too hot to touch, use a twice-folded paper towel to hold them, and use a chopstick to the side of the doughnut to create a tunnel. Don’t poke all the way through! Cut the tip off the bag with the foie gras mousse and pipe it into the hole until the doughnut feels full and heavy, but not until it overflows. Next, pipe in some of the cranberry sauce, allowing it to dribble out of the doughnut. Set the doughnut back on the rack and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Repeat until done.