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Recipe for Portuguese donuts courtesy of Dorothy Indelicato

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POSTED May 17, 2010 2:01 a.m.
Driving the kids to school when they were attending Nile Garden Elementary School, I used to make a pit stop at the donut shop in the small neighborhood shopping center on Union Road at West Yosemite Avenue. The kids opted for the chocolate-topped bars or the round ones. I usually had a half-dozen of the small rounded bite sizes with a small cup of decaf coffee.

On a number of occasions, I ran into Mabel Brocchini at the donut shop. She and one or two of her grandchildren would be seated in one of the tables enjoying a quick breakfast before heading off to Nile Garden.

The kids are now graduated from high school, and I imagine so are Mabel’s grandkids.

With those chauffeur days over, I thought we were done running into each other while picking up those lip-smacking sweets. Not a chance. We ran into each other again last Thursday at the monthly program presented by the Manteca Historical Museum. No, museum director Evelyn Prouty and her docents did not serve donuts for that evening’s refreshments. Better still, the featured guest - Dorothy Indelicato of the Delicato Family Vineyards in Manteca - gave a cooking demonstration on how to make Portuguese donuts.

Mabel happily pronounced the scrumptious free-form donut “delicious!” And, indeed, it was. The fact it was served piping hot, straight from the skillet made the donut taste even more flavorful. Dorothy even had copies of the recipe that she used available for anybody who wanted to take one home. I was one of those who took advantage of that offer.

I must add here, since it does not say so in the explanation below, that Dorothy used her hands instead of a tablespoon to place the batter portions in the skillet. To minimize the mess of having the batter stick to her fingers, not to mention convenience, she dipped her fingers into a bowl of milk before dropping a new batter portion into the oil. I suppose you can use water, too. But flavor-wise, I think the milk is the better choice.

For those who missed this month’s program at the museum and would like to try making Dorothy’s filhozes, here’s the recipe. Bon appetit!

Toss these doughnuts in cinnamon sugar while they are still warm. Filhozes are often made by the rather laborious yeast method. This baking powder version is just as delicious, and it is fool-proof.

2 cups milk (500 ml)
1 2-inch (5cm) cinnamon stick
5 eggs
½ cup granulated sugar (125 ml)
1 tsp salt (5 ml)
4 cups all-purpose flour (1 L)
4 tsp baking powder (20 mL)


¼ cup granulated sugar (50 mL)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon (15 mL)

Two hours or the day before, in saucepan, combine milk and cinnamon stick. Bring almost to boil. Turn off burner and set aside for 2 hours or overnight (refrigerate if using next day). Discard cinnamon stick before using.

In large bowl, whisk eggs until foamy. Beat in ½ cup (125 mL) sugar and salt until well blended. In separate bowl, blend flour and baking powder. Gradually beat into egg batter alternately with cinnamon-flavored milk until smooth.

In large skillet, heat 4-inch (10 cm) oil to 375-degreeF (190-degreeC). Using two spoons, place batter in skillet 2 tbsp (25 mL) portions; lower heat immediately to medium-low (adjust heat to keep doughnuts from browning too quickly). Cook for about 10 minutes, turning once, until golden-brown all over. Drain on paper towels. Cook remaining batter.

To make coating, in small bowl, blend ¼ cup (50 mL) sugar and ground cinnamon. While doughnuts are still hot, roll in cinnamon-sugar, coating all over.

Makes 36 doughnuts.

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