This week we have a fun Mid-Century Menu for you!
We are cooking out of Better Living Thru Good Cooking with Prudential Wares, published in 1953. For those of you who are in the dark about Prudential Wares (like I was), it was a cookware company that made mostly pots and pans. Prudential Wares was eventually purchased by ECKO, which went out of business in 2000. Prudential Wares cookware was good quality and sturdy, and came with a 50-year guarantee.
I wonder if any of these recipes came with a 50-year guarantee as well?
As far as mid-century cookbooks go, this one was fun. The pictures are huge and colorized to an unnatural degree. But I must say the pictures do make my little heart sing, and I pretty much want to make everything in this book.
And don’t you love how everything is covered with bananas? The pie? The cake? If you take a peek in the book, there is some banana covered chicken as well. But we are going to save that for another post.
And speaking of bananas…
After seeing about three mouth-watering doughnuts in almost every vintage cookbook I open, I finally, finally cracked under pressure and decided I had to make some. But, since this is Better Living Thru Good Cooking and everything is covered with bananas, I couldn’t just pick boring plain, doughnuts.
Ta-Da!!! Banana Doughnuts!!!!
No, Book. We are making doughnuts. Dough-nuts.
Worst…looking…bananas…ever! Freezing overripe bananas to save for later works extremely well, but thawing them is so disgusting.
So, I think I mentioned in a previous post that I have never made donuts before.
Technically, that is a lie.
The truth is, I have never successfully made doughnuts before.
Since Tom loves pretty much every kind of Polish food, I tried once to make him paczki.
It ended horribly. I am not sure if I didn’t have the oil hot enough, or I wasn’t patient enough or what, but every single one turned out raw in the middle. Sadly, I didn’t find this out until after I was finished cooking all of them and I was trying to fill them.
Needless to day, I was really, really careful to follow the recipe and do everything correctly. I also found a couple of tricks that helped to ensure your doughnut-making success so you don’t end up with a plateful of raw, lumpy pazcki. Or, banana doughnut, as the case may be.
First, the dough for these doughnuts doesn’t actually need to be rolled out. You can just flour your hands and pat it down to the right thickness. Handling the dough too much makes it tough.
Secondly, make sure the doughnuts are the proper thickness. I was afraid they would be raw like the last disaster, and so I didn’t cut the first batch as thickly as I should have. The doughnuts do need to be thick, though, because otherwise they just taste like funnel cake and not a delicious doughnut.
Also, make sure you heat up enough oil in the beginning. I didn’t think I would need as much oil as I ended up needing. Because of that, I ended up frying the last batch in a tiny bit of grungy, dark brown oil that wasn’t even deep enough to let the doughnuts float. The last couple didn’t end up so great, and I think they would have been much better if I had used enough oil in the pan.
Hopefully this will help you in your doughnut adventures.
Now, back to the regularly scheduled recipe test.
Holy cow!!! All kinds of deliciousness! We covered the doughnuts with cinnamon-sugar and powdered sugar as the recipe suggested. But if I could do it again, I would have slathered them with chocolate icing.
But these cinnamon-sugar ones were nothing to sneeze at. Look at the sugar-covered deliciousness!
What??? You can’t see it??? Well, how about an extreme close-up???
But let’s not just go on looks. Let’s taste these babies.
And I have just the man for the job.
“So, how are they?”
“Good! They taste like deep-fried banana bread.”
I grabbed one, and sunk my teeth in. Mmmm-mmm-mmmm!
The Verdict: Yummy. The doughnuts tasted just like deep fried banana bread, except not as sweet. However, the cinnamon-sugar coating made up for any lack of sweetness. The powdered sugar version wasn’t as good, so I would recommend against using that one. If I were to make these again, I would leave out a cup of flour in the recipe (some of the doughnuts ended up a bit dry) and be sure to pat, not roll, out the dough to the proper thickness. I have to say I liked the doughnut holes better than the actual doughnuts themselves, so maybe I would just go with all holes. And I would definitely ice them with a nice, chocolatey icing!!!
“You should try these. Seriously.”