Mardis Gras Doughnuts


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Preparation info

  • Makes


    dough nuts
    • Difficulty


Appears in

Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafes of Vienna, Budapest, and Prague


By Rick Rodgers

Published 2002

  • About

These feather-light doughnuts are filled with various goodies (apricot preserves, prune butter, chocolate, cooked apples) and stenciled in vanilla-flavored confectioners’ sugar to identify the filling (an “M” for Marillen, or apricot, and so on). They are sometimes called “ribbon doughnuts,” because the perfectly made ones have a pale band around their equator (the doughnuts are purposely cooked in a shallow depth of oil so it doesn’t reach the center, leaving a belt that is cooked by the residual heat). Don’t be concerned if yours lack this mark and are completely golden brown—they’ll still be delicious.

To cut out the dough, you’ll need two round biscuit cutters, 2¾ inches and 2½ inches in diameter. The first cuts out the dough, and the second seals the two sandwiched rounds together—an important step to keep the preserves from seeping out during frying.



  • ounce ( cube) fresh compressed yeast or teaspoons (1 envelope) dry yeast
  • ½ cup milk (heated to 105° to 115°F if using dry yeast)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar


  • ½ cup lukewarm milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden rum
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • cups all-purpose flour, as needed
  • Approximately ¼ cup apricot preserves
  • 1 large egg white, beaten until foamy
  • Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, optional


  1. To make the sponge: Crumble the yeast into the milk in a small bowl, let stand for 3 minutes, and whisk to dissolve the yeast. Add the flour and sugar and whisk until smooth. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes.
  2. To make the dough: Whisk the milk, butter, sugar, rum, zest, and salt in the bowl of a heavy-duty standing mixer. Whisk in the yolks, then the sponge. Attach to the mixer and fit with the paddle blade. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add enough of the flour to make a soft, sticky dough that barely cleans the sides of the bowl. Increase the speed to medium and beat the dough with the paddle blade (don’t use the dough hook) for 2 minutes.
  3. Gather up the dough into a ball and knead briefly until smooth. Place the dough in a large buttered bowl, turn to coat with butter, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes. (The warm ingredients make this dough rise more quickly than others.)
  4. On a very lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to inch thick. Using a -inch round biscuit cutter, cut out rounds of dough, set aside on a baking sheet lined with a lightly floured kitchen towel, and cover loosely with plastic wrap (you can stack the rounds). Kneading the scraps until smooth, roll and cut out to make a total of 24 rounds, discarding any excess dough.
  5. Place a heaping ½ teaspoon of preserves in the center of a round. Moisten the circumference of the round with the egg white. Cover with a second round, pinching the edges together with your fingertips (the seal should end up in the middle of the two rounds, forming a “belt”). Place a 2½-inch round biscuit cutter over the sandwiched rounds, and press down to cut out a doughnut, discarding the trimmings. Double check to be sure the doughnut is sealed. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with a lightly floured kitchen towel. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until the doughnuts have barely risen, about 15 minutes. Do not let the doughnuts rise until puffy or doubled, or they will expand too much during frying.
  6. Pour oil into a large heavy skillet or electric skillet just to a depth of ½ inch and heat over high heat to 350°F. Place a wire rack over a jelly-roll pan to drain the doughnuts (this works much more efficiently than paper towels).
  7. Place 3 or 4 doughnuts in the oil and cover. (Covering doughnuts during frying goes against deep-frying convention, but this contains the heat and helps cook the exposed side of the dough.) Fry until the undersides are golden brown, about 1½ minutes. Turn and fry uncovered until the other sides are golden brown, about 1 minute. There should be a white ribbon around the center of each dough nut where the oil did not reach. Using a wire skimmer, transfer the doughnuts to the rack to drain and cool. Sift the confectioners’ sugar over the warm doughnuts. Reheat the oil between batches. Cool the doughnuts completely.

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