Monday, April 9, 2012

Ricotta Doughnuts

When I read this month’s ingredient was ricotta, my first thought was to make one of my very favorite foods: ricotta gnocchi. Easy to make, and oh so delicious.

But before Rachel posted her ingredient for the month, I was determined to take whatever the secret ingredient was and make dessert. I was inspired by a recipe for Ginger Spice Cake I just saw in Bon Appetit, with Dijon mustard listed as one of the cake ingredients. See? Anything can be made into a dessert. Well unless she had picked halibut. That would have been a tough one.

But alas, I made a breakfast dish. But we all know doughnuts are really just a good excuse to have dessert for breakfast. And doughnuts followed by Easter candy made a really great breakfast! The ricotta dough made an awesome doughnut with a crispy outside and spongy, delicious inside. 

We tried three flavors and our favorite was a plain doughnut smeared with mascarpone lemon cream, followed by powdered sugar and then cinnamon sugar. We don’t have a deep fryer, so I just used a Le Creuset dutch oven, but I think a regular frying pan with high sides would have worked just fine as well. This was a super quick and easy recipe and it was really fun to have homemade doughnuts for the first time!

Vita’s Ricotta Doughnuts

6 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 pound whole or skim milk ricotta 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of nutmeg (optional)
Canola or vegetable oil for frying

You can cover the bowl of batter and put it in the refrigerator at this point (up to 1 day ahead) until you’re ready to fry but you may have to increase the frying time slightly to compensate for the colder batter. (We used about 1/3 of the batter on day 1 and will make fresh, hot doughnuts with the rest of it.) 

You'll need
Deep-frying thermometer (I don’t have one of these, so I just tested the oil by frying one doughnut at a time until I got it just right. At first it was too hot, but once I turned it down, they turned a nice golden color.)

1. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, ricotta, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, and nutmeg (I forgot to put nutmeg in) until combined, being careful not to over mix the batter.

2. Heat 2 to 3 inches of oil in a deep, heavy pot to 325°F. (Turns out it takes a lot more oil than I thought to fill a Le Creuset with 3 inches of oil. By the time I emptied my bottle, I only had about a ½ inch of oil. But I flipped the doughnuts about every 30 seconds and it worked just fine.) Drop the batter by small ice cream scoopfuls or small spoonfuls (use 2 teaspoons) into the oil and fry for 3 minutes, turning often, until golden brown on each side. You may need fry the doughnuts in two batches to avoid crowding the pot. Break open doughnut to make sure it’s cooked all the way through. Scoop out the doughnuts with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels or a brown paper bag to drain. Let the oil come back up to temperature and repeat with remaining batter.

3. Dust heavily with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar and serve hot.

Optional Toppings:

Lemon Mascarpone Cream (our favorite!) – Combine ½ cup mascarpone with 2 TBSP lemon juice, 1 TBSP lemon zest, 1/8 cup sugar and a pinch of salt. Add more sugar and lemon to taste.

Powdered Sugar – Dump some in a brown paper bag. Add a few doughnuts at a time, hot out of the oil and give it a shakey shake.

Cinnamon Sugar – 1 tsp. cinnamon combined with 1/3 cup sugar (keep leftovers to put on toast!). Roll the doughnuts in your cinnamon sugar concoction straight out of the hot oil so it will stick! 

I’m sure chocolate sauce or a maple cream would be delicious as well! What's your favorite kind of doughnut? 


  1. Ooh, those sound good! And pretty easy! May be a good option from our usual pancake/omelette weekend brekkies!

  2. You're so right -- donuts are just another excuse to have dessert for breakfast, I love that! These seriously made my mouth water.

  3. Can I have one now please? You had me at cheese and donuts!

  4. Are you kidding me with this? Seriously? I AM HUNGRY!