And how is everyone doing today? Are you grooving down? Are you happy as clams? Not exactly sure why clams are supposed to be so happy. Personally I think the saying should be “happy as cats.” I look around me and the cats are lounging on their cat tree or on big, fluffy pillows. If that isn’t happy, I don’t know what is. 🙂
So, on to baking. I love to bake, but there’s always that one recipe. You know what I mean. That one recipe or dessert that you’re a little intimidated to try. For a lot of people it’s bread. I mean, getting that perfect crust is a little persnickity, isn’t it? For others, making a pie is a little agitating because of the whole crust thing.
How about you? Is there any kind of recipe you’re a little nervous to make? Does cheesecake fill you with fear? Does pudding make you shake? Do croissants make you break out in a cold sweat?
Personally, croissants would intimidate me. All of those layers. Yikes!
But up until lately I was intimidated by another bakery item: donuts, in all of their various forms. But especially filled ones, like bismarks and long Johns.
But I was drawn in because…well, come on, DONUTS! Yum! That soft, tender delicousness. That wonderful custard filling. That glaze on top. Mmm…I’m there.
Now, I know that not everyone is familiar with what in the heck long Johns are. So basically it’s just an eclair. Actually, I think it would be fun to figure out the etymology of long John. When did some people start calling them that? Hmm, interesting.
But although these lovely gals take a little time, they aren’t difficult. You just need a little patience. But your diligence will be rewarded with bakery goodness!
- For donut portion:
- 1 (1/4 oz) package active dry yeast
- 2 tbsp sugar, divided
- ½ cup water, divided
- 2 tbsp. vegetable shortening
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp. nutmeg
- ¼ cup evaporated milk
- 1 beaten egg
- 2½ cups all purpose flour, sifted, plus more for dusting
- Canola oil, for frying
- Chopped nuts, if desired
- For custard:
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup vanilla
- For chocolate glaze:
- 2 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- ⅛ tsp. kosher salt
- 2 tbsp. milk
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- To make the long Johns: In a small bowl combine the yeast, 1 tsp. of the sugar and ¼ cup warm water heated to 115 degrees F. Let sit until foamy, 8-10 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add remaining sugar, shortening, salt, and ¼ cup boiling water and mix until shortening has melted. Add in yeast mixture, nutmeg, milk, egg, and mix until thoroughly combine. Make sure the mixer is on low, and slowly add in the flour, mixing until it forms a cohesive dough.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is elastic. Allow to rest for ten minutes.
- After resting, roll the dough out into an 8 inch by 8 inch square that is roughly 1 inch thick.
- Cut into 8 equal strips and place on a cookie sheet lined with greased parchment paper, leaving about 2 inches between each long John.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to double, about 1½ hours.
- While resting, make the custard: Whisk sugar, yolks, and cornstarch in a 1 quart pan until combined.
- Add in butter, vanilla, and milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium and cook until custard has thickened, 3-5 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, then place in a bowl with plastic wrap covering the surface. Refrigerate until entirely cooled.
- Once the long Johns have doubled, heat 2 inches of oil in a 6 quart saucepan until the temperature registers 350 degrees F. Gently place donuts into the oil, cooking until golden, about 2-3 minutes, turning them over once to cook evenly. Remove from oil and allow to cool on a wire rack.
- While cooling, make the glaze: Mix the chocolate, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Bring the butter and milk to a boil in a 1 quart saucepan or in the microwave. Pour over the chocolate mixture and allow to sit for a few minutes, then stir until smooth and entirely melted.
- To assemble the long Johns once they've cooled, poke a wooden skewer through the long John to make room for the custard. Place the custard in a piping back fitted with a ¼ inch plain tip. Pipe in 2-3 tbsp in each long John, then spread the tops with the chocolate glaze. Finish with chopped nuts, if desired.