Lemon Buttermilk Donuts with Blackberry Glaze
Spring is in the air and fresh berries are making their way back onto grocery store shelves! Typically, I try to wait until we can either pick them ourselves or they are truly in season. Strawberries are looking great right now but the price is really inflated! The blackberries however, were perfect in the smaller container. I've been seeing them for a week or two, just taunting me. A local store was giving out samples and I was taken off guard by how sweet and delicious they were. I knew I had to buy a batch and do something fabulous with it! We hadn't made donuts in quite a few weeks at our house, so I decided to find a way to incorporate the plump, dark berries. Lemon seemed like the perfect complement, so the recipe testing began!
Just crushing the berries would have been a simple solution, for sure. The drawbacks:
1) You're left picking seeds out of your teeth for days.
2) The juice can make for a watery batter or frosting.
3) Even though they are ripe and sweet, sometimes the flavor can get lost when mixed with heavier ingredients like butter and sugar.
The best way to offset all three issues was to slowly cook the berries! They would break down and release all the wonderful juices while intensifying the flavor as the water content evaporated. The thicker reduction meant more berry taste and color! Best of all, once it passed through a fine mesh sieve, there were no seeds to worry about. It proved to be a huge success and now I want to make this base for ALL berries in any dessert I can think of! Ice cream, tarts, buttercream frosting and sugar glazes. I wonder how pretty that pale, cake donut would've looked with the tint of berry reduction instead of lemon juice? My curiosity might get the better of me next donut day!
- 1 cup blackberries (fresh or frozen)
- Juice of 1/2 a lemon
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 3 Tablespoons heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- zest of one lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon
Preheat your oven to 350°. In a small bowl, melt the butter and set aside to cool. Zest the lemon before cutting it in half for the juice. In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, combine the juice of one half of the lemon with the berries. Simmer until the berries have broken down and it has thickened a bit. Strain through a fine mesh sieve into another bowl and let it cool for at least another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients for the donuts. In a large glass measuring cup, mix together the buttermilk, butter and eggs. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Don't over-stir your donuts...or they will not bake up fluffy and tender; it will be rather tough.
Prepare your donut pan by greasing and flouring or spraying with nonstick baking spray (one with flour is suggested). I use this pan and it works like a dream. Filling the wells can be quite simple if you pour your batter into a zip top baggie and snip off the corner. Squeeze the batter into the bottom half of each well. You want to be sure you're not over filling them, or else you won't have a hole in the center of your donut! Pop the pan into the oven and bake for approximately nine to ten minutes. If your donut pan makes larger or smaller donuts than mine, adjust accordingly.
They don't get very brown so you'll have to judge their done-ness by touch. The cake should bounce back slightly when you press on it, and feel dry to the touch. Turn them out of the pan immediately onto a cool grid. Let them cool for approximately 10 minutes. You can glaze them while they are still warm, but not hot. While the donuts are cooling, add the confectioner sugar, heavy cream and salt to the strained blackberry reduction. The glaze will be thick, add more heavy cream if necessary. Be careful not to make it too thin though... this is the crowning jewel! The glaze will harden up a bit (in about five minute) after glazing. However, if your family is like mine and just can't wait, go ahead and dive in!
yield: approximately 27 donuts