Food & Entertaining - Recipes

Try this delicious recipe for pershings for an afternoon indulgence.

Named for General Pershing, the only US General to be promoted to the army’s highest rank while he was still alive, we assume that pershings are the epitome of formed, raised doughnuts. Use a flat metal spatula to lift them off the baking sheet, so the spirals stay intact. Slide your hand underneath the top of the doughnut after you dip it into the glaze, to prevent it from unraveling as you take it out—it's messy, but fingers really do work best.


Time: 1 hour active time, plus glazing
Equipment: Large, sharp knife

Roll ingredients
  • 3 tbsp (four ¼ oz/7 g packages) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup/240 ml very warm water (about 105°F/40°C)
  • ½ cup/100 g sugar, plus 1 tbsp
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground mace
  • 2 tsp iodized salt
  • 4 to 4½ cups/550 to 620 g bread/strong flour, plus more for rolling and cutting
  • ¼ cup/55 g shortening/vegetable lard, trans-fat-free preferred
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
Filling ingredients
  • 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup/100 g sugar
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Big batch Simplest vanilla glaze (recipe on next page)

First, make the rolls: Whisk the yeast, water, and 1 tbsp of the sugar together in the work bowl of a stand mixer and set aside for 5 minutes.

2 In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup/100 g sugar, baking powder, mace, salt, and 4 cups/550 g of the bread/strong flour. Set aside.

3 Add the shortening/vegetable lard, egg yolks, and vanilla to the foaming yeast mixture. Mix with the paddle attachment on low speed for 1 minute, to break up the shortening. Add about a third of the dry ingredients and mix until blended on low speed, then repeat with the second third of the dry ingredients.

4 Switch to the dough hook and add the remain­ing dry ingredients, mixing on low speed until no white spots remain each time, adding additional flour as necessary, until the dough is dry enough to clean the bottom of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and knead for 2 more minutes. (It should be smooth like bread dough, but still a bit tacky.)

5 Transfer the dough to a baking sheet/tray sprinkled with 1 tbsp flour, shape into a flat square 6 in/15 cm across, dust lightly with flour, cover with a dish/tea towel, and set aside.

6 Create a proofing box in your oven: Bring a large kettle of water to a boil. Pour 8 cups/2 L of the boiling water into a 9-by-13-in/25-by-35-cm (or similar) baking dish, and set it on the floor of your oven. Place the sheet with the covered dough on the middle rack of the oven, close the door, and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

7 Transfer the dough to a lightly floured cutting board and roll into a roughly 12 in/30 cm square, about ½ in/12 mm thick, with a lightly floured rolling pin.

8 For the filling, whisk the milk and egg together in a small bowl, and brush a layer over the entire surface of the dough. (You won’t use all of the egg wash.) In another bowl, mix the sugar and cinna­mon together, then sprinkle the mixture over the dough, leaving a 1 in/2.5 cm strip at one end empty. Roll the dough up into a loose log, ending with the empty strip. (This will help the rolls stick together.) Use a large, sharp knife to cut the log into 12 slices 1 in/2.5 cm thick. Gently transfer the rolls to two bak­ing sheets/trays sprinkled with 2 tbsp flour each, arranging them at least 2 in/5 cm apart. Fold the ends of the spirals underneath the rolls if they begin to unravel, and gently press the rolls into a round shape if they’ve become square. Let rise in the oven (with new boiling water), uncovered, for another 30 to 45 minutes, until doubled in size.

9 Using a candy thermometer to measure the temperature, heat oil (at least 2 in/5 cm deep) in a deep fryer, large pot, or high-sided frying pan over medium heat to 340°F/170°C. When the rolls have doubled, carefully place one or two in the oil, taking care not to over­crowd them, and fry for about 30 to 40 seconds, or until light golden brown on the bottom. (Note that the doughnuts will look more brown when they’re done than they do in the oil.) Carefully turn the doughnuts and fry for another 20 to 30 seconds, until golden on the second side, then transfer to a cooling rack set over a layer of paper towels/absor­bent paper to cool, rounded side up.

10 While the pershings are still very warm, dip the most rounded side of each into the warm glaze. Let dry on cooling racks, glazed side up, for 10 to 15 minutes, then serve.

Makes one dozen large rolls.



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