On a recent trip to Aldea, Betsy not only dined at the chef's counter (which offers a bird's eye view of the kitchen) but more importantly, she got to sample George Mendes' famous doughnuts or 'sonhos' as they are formally known. The executive chef at one of New York City's hottest restaurants grew up eating sonhos during the holidays and later decided to add them to the dessert menu at his restaurant. Earlier today, George joined us on "Morning Living" to share the secret behind these little pillows of goodness.
- Fry in canola oil. It has a high smoking point which means you can bring it to a very high temperature. It's also got a neutral flavor which is important when making doughnuts like these.
- If you can, purchase a kitchen scale (available at most home stores). Weighing your ingredients is the best way to ensure precision.
- George uses glucose instead of sugar in his caramel sauce because it can be brought to a high temperature without solidifying or crystallizing. It also allows the caramel to maintain its smooth consistency as its temperature cools.
Click below to listen to the entire interview.
Sonhos “Little Dreams”
Yields 2 1/2 quarts of batter
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
4 cups water
4 cups all-purpose flour
16 whole eggs
1. Combine sugar, water, and butter in a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Off the heat, slowly mix in the flour.
3. Return to heat and continue stirring. Cook until thick.
4. Transfer to mixer, mix on medium speed, and slowly incorporate eggs until well combined.
5. Roll the mixture into one-ounce balls of nickel-size diameter with either a spoon or tiny ice cream scoop.
6. Deep fry at 300 degrees for nine minutes until they puff up and are golden brown.
2 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c water
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon glucose
2 cups heavy cream
4 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
Combine sugar, water, glucose and heat until medium colored caramel. Slowly add heavy cream and stir until well incorporated. (Some of the caramel may become seized because the cream is cold, the heavy cream can be warmed so that it is incorporated faster). Continue stirring on medium heat until all the caramel is dissolved. Add the salt and whisk until dissolved. When there are no more caramel chunk remove from heat and pour into a heat-proof bowl. Set aside and when the caramel is cool but not cold add the soft butter. Cool down.
Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce
1 1/2 cups hazelnuts
1/2 cup almonds
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate
1 cup milk chocolate
1. Toast nuts and set aside.
2. Heat milk and honey in medium pot; bring to a boil.
4. Melt chocolate over a bain marie.
5. Add nuts to a food processor and blend until smooth and becomes a paste. Add the hot melted chocolate and blend until smooth and well incorporated. Slowly add the hot milk and continue blending until well incorporated, about 10 minutes.
6. For a smooth sauce, pass the sauce through a fine mesh sieve -- or if preferred thicker sauce -- there is no need to pass through a sieve. Remove from heat and cool.
15 small or 8 large stalks of rhubarb
1 1/2 cups sugar
One orange, juiced
1. Wash, dry, and cut rhubarb.
2. In medium pot, combine sugar and water. Make a very light caramel and the add the rhubarb. The caramel will seize a bit, but continue to stir. When the rhubarb releases its liquid, the caramel will dissolve again. Stir constantly so that the rhubarb does not stick to the bottom of the pot. Cook until the liquid is evaporated and the rhubarb becomes a compote (about 20 minutes). When thick, stir in the orange juice. Remove from heat and cool.