This recipe, from the gorgeous new book, Rose Petal Jam: Recipes From a Summer In Poland, looks unbelievably tasty, and is perfect for a Valenti-YUM!-'s Day treat.
Not only are these rose-petal-jam-filled donuts beautiful---the deep red from the jam radiates love--but they are also author Beata Zatorska's favorite treats from her childhood in Poland. The recipes for both the simple jam and sweet doughnuts were passed down to her from her grandmother. And you know, when it comes to love and food--- grandma knows best.
My Grandmother's Jozefa's Rose Petal Jam
This fragrant jam is my favorite filling for polish doughnuts. It is best made with fresh petals from the wild rose---Rosa Canina.
3 or 4 large handfuls fresh rose petals
roughly 1pound granulated sugar
Gather the wild rose petals in the morning, before they have been in the sun too long and released their fragrance.
Place them in a stone mortar or makutra. Slowly pour in the sugar and use the pestle to crush the petals together with the sugar. The juice in the petals will gradually blend with the sugar into a deep red, thick paste. No further cooking is needed. The jam can be preserved in sterilized glass jars for up to TWO YEARS.
Doughnuts with Rose Petal Jam (Paczki)
My grandmother filled these yeasty buns with jam made from the rose petals I gathered, then left them to puff up under towels on tables and chairs, sofas and sideboards. Visitors, attracted by the smell of baking, had to be careful where they sat.
Makes 20 doughnuts
2 whole eggs
2 lb 3 oz all-purpose flour
17 fl oz warm full-cream milk
8 oz fresh yeast (4 oz dry powdered yeast)
4 egg yolks
7 oz superfine sugar
rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon spiritus* or pure rectified spirit (or brandy or rum)
4 oz butter, melted
14 oz rose petal jam
4 pints vegetable oil for deep frying
5 oz powdered sugar
For the glaze
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 - 2 teaspoons water or freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 drops almond essence
Place the eggs, 4 oz of the flour, and 8 fl oz of the milk with the yeast in a small bowl and work it together with your hands. This is your starter pastry that is going to grow and form the basis of your doughnut mix. Leave it under a clean cloth in a warm place for an hour to expand. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together. Add the remaining flour and milk and your expanded starter pastry mix. Also add the lemon juice and rind, the spiritus or brandy, and the melted butter. Work it all together into a big ball of dough. Leave it for another hour to expand; it should double in size. Take the dough, a handful at a time, and roll it out on a floured wooden board to a thickness of 1/2 in. Cut out 3 in discs of pastry with an inverted tumbler. Put a teaspoon of rose petal jam or jelly in the middle of each disc, then pull the outside edges together, and pinch the dough to seal the doughnut so the jam is trapped inside. Roll the ball in your hand into an even sphere. Place completed doughnuts on a flat surface under a clean towel and leave them to grow for another half hour or so. Heat the oil. To test when the oil is hot enough, drop a marble-sized ball of pastry in and see if it fizzes. If so, drop a doughnut in – it should float in the oil. When the submerged underside is golden, roll it over so the top gets cooked too. Remove after a couple of minutes and allow to drain on a paper towel. Once cool, dust the doughnuts with powdered sugar. If you prefer to glaze them, make a thin icing by mixing 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar with a 1- 2 teaspoons of water or freshly squeezed lemon juice, adding 2 drops of almond essence.
* Polish Spiritus – a form of rectified alcohol repeatedly distilled until it is very strong – up to 95% is obtainable in Polish delis. (It is not a good idea to try drinking this undiluted). Substitute a tablespoon of brandy or rum if you can’t find it.
In Rose Petal Jam, you will not just find this recipe to treat your sweetheart--or tooth. You will be taken through Poland with Beata Zatorska as your culinary tour guide. She grew up making periogi from her grandma's farm house kitchen, and whether you are using your small studio apartment kitchen or something more elaborate, she will place you right in the bright Polish countryside with fields of purple wild flowers and bright rustic architecture. All her recipes are seeped with romance, from Elizabeth's Honeycake with Plum Jam to the very rustic and finger-licking Trout Smoked with Apple Wood.
Treat yourself and your sweetheart to the doughnuts or better yet, go buy him or her a copy of Rose Petal Jam to keep the romance of Poland with you well beyond Valenti-yums day.