Recipe courtesy of Torrence O'Haire

Les Dijonnaises Doughnuts (Pain d'Epices Doughnuts with Orange, Thyme and Bleu d'Auvergne)

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Inactive: 25 min
  • Cook: 50 min
  • Yield: 12 to 16 doughnuts
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Mixed spices: 

2 teaspoons whole aniseed

2 teaspoons whole coriander seed

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

Pain d'Epices Doughnuts:

Solid shortening, for frying

8 ounces all-purpose flour

3 1/2 ounces dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Scant 1/2 cup milk

1 1/2 ounce buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 ounce butter, at room temperature

Orange-Cognac Glaze:

1/2 cup fine cut orange marmalade

1/4 cup cognac

1/4 cup honey

Pinch salt

Fresh thyme sprigs

Slivered bleu d'Auvergne or other French blue cheese


Special equipment:
a frying thermometer; a doughnut-dropper
  1. For the mixed spices: Toast the aniseed, coriander seeds, ginger, cloves and peppercorns in a dry skillet until fragrant. Transfer to a spice grinder or clean coffee grinder and grind to a powder. 
  2. For the pain d'epices doughnuts: Heat the shortening in a deep frying pan, making sure it is at least 2 inches when melted. Bring the oil to 375 degrees F. 
  3. Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda together with 2 teaspoons mixed spices in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, and mix on low speed until incorporated. Whisk together the milk, buttermilk, vanilla and egg in a separate medium bowl. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, add the wet ingredients in a steady stream. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix until thick and smooth, about 30 seconds. Let the dough rest, 10 minutes. 
  4. Using a doughnut-dropper or a pair of tablespoons (for fritter-shaped balls), drop several doughnuts in the oil and fry until golden brown, 45 seconds per side. Drain on brown paper grocery bags or a rack; cool completely. 
  5. For the orange-cognac glaze: Combine the marmalade, cognac, honey and salt with 1/2 teaspoon mixed spices in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until thick and slightly reduced, 7 to 10 minutes. Let cool until just warm. 
  6. Dip the tops of the cooled doughnuts in the warm glaze and let stand until the glaze sets. Top with thyme sprigs and a few shards of blue cheese.