Name me one thing that is better than a fresh Jam Donut. Soft doughy balls, stuffed full of your favourite flavour of jam, in a generous coating of sweet sugar. I will wait.
Now we’ve established that Jam Donuts truly are top tier sweet treats, lets talk about why you should make a batch of your own…stat!
First of all, doughnuts are always great, we all know that. But once you taste a freshly made doughnut, there’s no going back. Still slightly warm and doughy without a hint of starting to dry out. I will be the first to admit that home-baked doughnuts are best enjoyed on the same day you make them, however you’ll be lucky that they aren’t eaten within hours anyway.
Then there’s how versatile they can be. The eagle-eyed amongst you may notice that the ingredients are much the same donuts recipe as our O-G Donuts recipe; that’s because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And whether you’re making ring donuts, or filled donuts, this recipe can do both.
With filled donuts in mind, the options for jam donuts is pretty much endless. Pictured are strawberry jam donuts but in actual fact, raspberry jam donuts are my favourite. You can however use whatever jam you fancy. Apricot, blackberry, blackcurrant…
Why stop at jam? You can even use lemon curd, custard, Nutella… See what I mean about the options being endless?
Jam Donuts are also incredibly easy to make. Don’t let the in-depth recipe put you off! It looks lengthy but that is only because it has a few stages to it. Nothing overly complex, just lots of tips to keep you right. And broken down to preparing the dough, shaping the donuts, then cooking them (with a couple of breaks between to let the dough prove and rise), it really is very simple.
As donuts use a rich dough, you will need a little milk, butter/margarine, sugar and egg. Full-fat milk is preferable but it’s entirely up to you what kind you use. Dairy and soya are both good choices that I have had success with.
Butter or Block Margarine
Butter will give the richest flavour to your donuts but margarine is actually what is used in most store-bought donuts, purely due to it being a cheaper ingredient. If using margarine, just be sure to opt for a block margarine, as opposed to a soft spread.
Strong Plain Flour
Like many yeast-dough recipes, these jam donuts call for a strong flour. Strong flours give a slightly higher concentrate of gluten, meaning they bake with a stronger structure, which is perfect for catching the gas bubbles created from the yeast. A little bit of science in baking!
A regular plain flour can be used in a pinch but you will need to knead it a lot more, to help make the most of the lesser amount of gluten.
Again, with a rich dough a little bit of sugar is a must. And donuts are a sweet treat, so let’s make that dough extra indulgent! Caster sugar is preferable, as it’s finer texture mixes well with the other ingredients.
There was a time when you could buy various types of yeast but nowadays, Instant Yeast is the most accessible. It also works brilliantly in many recipes but especially in Jam Donuts, as no extra measuring or preparation is required to activate it.
An egg adds the final bit of richness you want in a squidgy little donut. The size of the egg is not crucial, just be sure to use free-range.
Jam Donuts need a bit of jam! I’ve suggested using strawberry jam in this recipe but really any jam you choose should work well. However, seedless jam is generally best, in terms of texture.
Granny’s Top Tips
• For evenly sized donuts, weigh your dough after knocking it back post-first-rise (step 5), then divide that number by twelve. Then weigh out each donut to that number, before rolling them into their balls.
• In the recipe, it suggests placing your dough-balls onto individual squares of greaseproof paper. This is a game changer!! You will then be able to move your donuts from tray/board to fryer with ease, and without compromising the structure of the now-perfectly risen dough.
• If you don’t already have a sugar thermometer, I highly recommend investing in one. This will allow you to closely monitor your oil temperature and ensure success whilst frying your donuts. Plus you can then use it to make our Scottish Tablet too!
• You can of course use a deep-fat fryer, if you have one.
• Using chop sticks to flip your donuts during frying is by far the easiest technique I have found.
• Warm you jam a little before spooning it into your piping bag – this will make it easier to work with.
• I cannot stress this enough… When working with hot oil, please please please be extremely careful. It is also worth having an awareness on how to deal with an oil fire before you start.
- In a small saucepan, add the milk and butter/margarine. Warm over a low heat, until the butter/margarine starts to melt. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little – you don't want it to be too hot before adding to the other ingredients.
- In a large bowl, sift in the flour and sugar. Add the yeast and gently mix to combine. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients then add the milk mixture and egg. Mix together to create a soft, slightly sticky dough – you may need to use your hands!
- Once the dough has come together, tip it onto a well floured surface and begin to knead with floured hands, adding more flour as/when needed. Knead for around 10 minutes, until you have a smooth, stretchy dough.
- Place the dough into a oiled bowl (to prevent it from sticking) and cover with an oiled piece of cling film, or a damp tea towel. Leave to rise in a draught-free location for about an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
- Once the dough has risen, knock it back and briefly knead it on a lightly floured surface. Divide your dough into 12 even sized balls, rolling them between your hands to shape them. Place your dough balls onto individual squares of greaseproof paper (approx. 10cm² in size) with a bit of space between them – preferably on a tray or board – and cover again with a piece of oiled cling film or a damp tea towel. Leave in a draught-free place for about an hour, until they have puffed up to about double their size.
- In a large pan, heat your oil to 180°c (use a thermometer for accuracy). You want your oil to be deep enough for your doughnuts to comfortably fry, without sticking to the bottom. Depending on your pan size, you may need to use more/less oil.
- Using the greaseproof paper square, lift your doughnut to the oil, and gently drop it in, exercising extreme caution. Allow the donut to fry for about 90 seconds, before flipping it over, allowing the underside to fry for about 90 seconds too. Depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to fry the donuts in small batches; just be careful not to overcrowd your pan or you risk the doughnuts sticking together and the oil dropping in temperature too quickly.
- Once your doughnuts are golden brown on both sides, use a slotted spoon to remove them, holding them above the oil for about 10 seconds (to allow the oil to drip sufficiently) before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Continue until all your doughnuts are cooked, whilst continuing to monitor your oil temperature and adjusting the heat as needed.
- Spoon your jam into a piping bag with a large circular nozzle. Once your doughnuts are cool enough to touch, poke a little hole with the end of a wooden spoon to the side of each doughnut, before piping your jam into the hole. It can be a bit of trial and error (and personal preference) getting the right amount of jam in each donut, but around a teaspoonful amount is usually ideal.
- Roll the doughnuts in some extra caster sugar to finish.
Dairy-free: These donuts can easily be made dairy free by using a dairy-free margarine and a dairy-free milk of your choice; my preference is sweetened soya milk.
Nut-free: This donut recipe doesn’t use any nut ingredients but be sure to double check the allergens on each of your individual ingredients.