These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

These old-fashioned doughnuts don’t skimp on the fat or sugar. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

On the strawberry patch: Memories of old-fashioned doughnuts

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.

My family moved to Anchorage late in the summer of 1991, when I was 4.

My mother quickly found a job at a bakery near Huffman, working graveyards, trading time at work off and on with my dad to make ends meet while they scratched out our new life in a strange land.

She was an artist of many talents, mostly a painter, but she was also a skilled cake decorator. Her last task of the night was to fry and frost the doughnuts, the ghosts of which would follow her home and float up the stairs to gently wake me with whispers of sugar and yeast. Once in a while, if we were very lucky, she would bring some home with her, and we would all sit and have a treat together before my dad left for the day.

My recipe is for old-fashioned doughnuts, and since I make these maybe twice a year, I don’t skimp on the sugar and fat.

Ingredients:

4 cups all-purpose flour, plus some for the counter

1 teaspoon salt

¾ cup whole milk, warmed to about body temperature

3 teaspoons active dry yeast

¼ cup sugar

2 eggs

¾ cup vegetable shortening (you can use the same amount of room-temperature butter if you prefer, but the doughnuts will not be as fluffy)

Vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

In the bowl of your mixer, combine the milk, yeast and sugar and allow to sit for 10 minutes, until bubbly.

With the paddle attachment, mix in your eggs and shortening until smooth. A few lumps are OK.

Combine your flour and salt, swap to a dough hook, and slowly add, about 1 cup at a time, until the mixture forms a ball.

Transfer to a large bowl, lightly greased with oil, and set in a warm spot to rise for 1 hour.

Roll out to about ½-inch thick and cut out your doughnuts. You can use a doughnut cutter if you happen to have one, but for most of us, a mason jar ring and a shot glass works very well. The only rule is to not cut the rings too skinny — no less than 1-inch wide. You can do a second roll to use up scraps, but no more than that or they will be tough.

Let the shaped doughnuts rise, covered with a kitchen towel, for another 45 minutes before frying in vegetable oil for 3-5 minutes, flipping and moving often, until golden brown all over. The holes will take less time. You need to use a lot of oil, at least enough to come halfway up the doughnuts, because they need to float as they cook, or they will scorch.

Toss the doughnuts in powdered sugar while they are still warm or dip in chocolate and cover in sprinkles.

My mom’s favorite was chocolate glazed, served with screaming hot black coffee.

It didn’t occur to me as a preschooler, but she needed that coffee and sugar to entertain her children after a night of hard work in the bakery.

We didn’t know many people up here, so she must not have had much help … and so must not have slept very much at all in that first year before her kids were in school full time. Still, I can’t remember her ever complaining. She greeted us every morning with her sweet smile and melodic voice, the voice (I’m told) I inherited almost exactly.

Tressa Dale is a U.S. Navy veteran and culinary and pastry school graduate from Anchorage. She currently lives in Nikiski with her husband, 1-year-old son and two black cats.

More in Life

The 10 participants in season 9 of “Alone,” premiering on May 26, 2022, on the History Channel. Terry Burns of Homer is the third from left, back. Another Alaskan in the series, Jacques Tourcotte of Juneau, is the fourth from left, back. (Photo by Brendan George Ko/History Channel)
Homer man goes it ‘Alone’

Burns brings lifetime of wilderness experience to survival series

Thes chocolate chip cookie require no equipment, no pre-planning, and are done from start to finish in one hour. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Forever home chocolate chip cookies

This past week I moved into my first forever home

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: This purge won’t be a movie sequel

What’s forthcoming is a very rare occurrence and, in my case, uncommon as bifocals on a Shih Tzu puppy

File
Being content with what you don’t know

How’s your negative capability doing?

Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire
Local Tlingit beader Jill Kaasteen Meserve is making waves as her work becomes more widely known, both in Juneau and the Lower 48.
Old styles in new ways: Beader talks art and octopus bags

She’s been selected for both a local collection and a major Indigenous art market

A copy of “The Fragile Earth” rests on a typewriter on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Off the Shelf: Seeking transformation in the face of catastrophe

Potent words on climate change resonate across decades

Gochujang dressing spices up tofu, lettuce, veggies and sprouts. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Healthy life starts with healthy food

Gochujang salad dressing turns veggies and tofu into an exciting meal

Virginia Walters (Courtesy photo)
Life in the Pedestrian Lane: Spring Fever

“OK, Boomer” is supposed to be the current put down by the “woke generation”

A headstone for J.E. Hill is photographhed in Anchorage, Alaska. (Findagrave.com)
Night falls on the Daylight Kid — Part 2

“Bob,” he said, “that crazy fool is shooting at us.”

File
Minister’s Message: Has spring sprung in your life?

Christ also offers us an eternal springtime of love, hope and life

Eggs Benedict are served with hollandaise on a bed of arugula and prosciutto. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
On the strawberry patch: Honoring motherhood, in joy and in sorrow

Many who have suffered this loss believe they must bear it in silence for the sake of propriety

Page from Seward daily gateway. (Alaska State Library, Archives and Museum, Juneau, A.K.)
Night falls on the Daylight Kid — Part 1

Night Falls on the Daylight Kid—Part One By Clark Fair