Blood Orange & Prosecco Doughnuts

Here it is - my first gluten free recipe on benji's baking - I know it has been a long time coming but better late than never. I even used prosecco in the recipe to celebrate.

For this recipe I wanted to give a little background to the science behind gluten free baking...

Gluten protein forms when water and flour are mixed. It develops a network throughout the mixture which gives structure to the bake. That is why in breads you knead the dough for a short while as kneading builds up that network which means that the bread can rise, whereas in pastry you want the opposite effect - by rubbing the flour and butter together you coat the flour molecules in a water resistant butter layer that prevents that gluten structure forming when you add the water to bring the pastry together and as such gives a nice 'short' (crumbly) pastry instead of a more bread like - gluten heavy, dough.

The problem then occurs when you remove gluten from the scene completely. You now have a situation whereby you have no structure to hold the gases produced from the reacting baking powder and so although it may rise slightly in the oven, it will inevitably collapse completely leaving you with a less than pleasant, dense bake.

The best solution for this dilemma is an ingredient called xanthan gum which gives doughs and batters elasticity and structure which will prevent those collapsed, dense bakes.

The great thing is that lots of these free from products are now widely available in supermarkets and shops across the country and if in doubt, online. Science lesson over - scroll down to check out how to make these gluten free beauties!

INGREDIENTS

For the doughnuts

- 185g Butter (unsalted & softened)

- 185g Caster sugar

- Grated zest of 2 blood oranges

- 3 Eggs

- 190g Gluten free self raising flour

- 1.5tsp Gluten free baking powder

- 1/2tsp Xanthan gum

- 2-3tbsp Milk

For the Blood orange & Prosecco Icing

- 500g Icing sugar (sifted)

- Juice of 2 large blood oranges

- 3tbsp Prosecco

You will also need: A 12 hole doughnut tin

METHOD

- Preheat your oven to 160 Fan / 180C and lightly grease your doughnut tin with butter.

- In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy.

- While mixing continuously, gradually add the eggs one by one. Adding a tablespoon of the self raising flour in between each egg.

- After all the eggs have been completely incorporated, fold in the remaining flour, baking powder and xanthan gum before mixing the milk in to make the mixture smooth and creamy.

- Place a tablespoon of mixture into each doughnut mould and use a teaspoon to make sure the mixture is evenly spread around the whole mould.

- Bake for 12 - 15 minutes before allowing to cool slightly and then turning out.

- Once your doughnuts are cool, prepare the icing by mixing together all the ingredients until there are no lumps of icing remaining.

- Using a teaspoon and lightly drizzle the icing over each doughnut (I do it this way as I prefer the not quite perfect look it results in but you can of course pipe the icing for a slightly more precise design).

- Serve the doughnuts on the day they are baked for the best results but they will also last for a day or two in a sealed container.

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