Almond-Raspberry Doughnuts

A rich almond torte and old-fashioned jelly-filled doughnuts were the inspirations for this luscious dessert that simply needs the accompaniment of soft whipped cream to complete it.

DOUGHNUTS

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 oz. almond paste
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg white, beaten
1/4 cup strained raspberry preserves*
Vegetable oil for frying

TOPPING

1/2 cup whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup strained raspberry preserves
1 1/2 teaspoons kirsch, framboise, brandy or orange juice
1 tablespoon water

1. In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and salt.

2. In large bowl, combine almond paste and 1/2 cup sugar; mix at low speed to break up almond paste into tiny pieces. Add butter; beat at medium speed 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add egg; beat until blended. At low speed, add milk and vanilla; beat until blended.

3. Stir in flour mixture. (Dough will be very soft and sticky.) Cover; let stand 20 minutes.

4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place dough on well-floured surface; sprinkle dough with flour. With floured hands, pat dough to form 1/4-inch-thick round. With greased and floured 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out circles; place on baking sheet. Brush half the circles with egg white.

5. Place 1/4 cup preserves in small resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Make tiny cut in corner of bag with scissors. Squeeze 1/4 teaspoon jam in center of each egg white-glazed circle. Place remaining circles over raspberry-topped ones. Press around edges to seal. If necessary, roll with hands to form balls; flatten to 1/2-inch thickness.

6. Heat 2 to 3 inches vegetable oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat to 375°F., using candy thermometer for accuracy. Deep-fry doughnuts 2 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Remove doughnuts from oil; place on paper towels. (Doughnuts can be made up to 8 hours ahead. When ready to serve, warm doughnuts in 350°F. oven for 5 minutes.)

7. In small bowl, beat cream at medium speed until soft peaks form. Add 3 tablespoons sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla; beat until slightly thicker. (Cream should still be soft and fall in soft mounds.)

8. In small saucepan, combine 1/2 cup preserves, kirsch and water. Heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.

9. To serve, place 3 doughnuts on each dessert plate. Spoon whipped cream on plate beside doughnuts. Drizzle raspberry mixture over doughnuts and cream. Serve immediately. Refrigerate any leftover whipped cream.

TIP *Strain raspberry preserves through fine strainer to remove seeds. You may use seedless raspberry preserves, but the color and flavor are better in the regular preserves.

24 doughnuts; 8 servings

PER SERVING: 460 calories, 19 g total fat (8 g saturated fat), 6.5 g protein, 68 g carbohydrate, 60 mg cholesterol, 275 mg sodium, 1.5 g fiber


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