By Jessica Roy There's been a resurgence of doughnuts in the breakfast pastry world as a coveted fine culinary creation. I'm not talking about the typical offerings you can grab at DD along with your regular morning coffee. These things are works of art.

I'm talking huge, doughy doughnuts the size of your head, with sophisticated flavors meant to be savored. One of my favorite shops, Union Square Donuts, has a maple bacon version that is one of my top 10 all-time best food experiences. Seriously.

In homage to the almighty doughnut, this week we are making a super flavorful homemade version that is kind of a cross between a fritter and doughnut hole. Bright orange citrus flavor, rich ricotta cheese and a dusting of cinnamon and sugar make these tiny treats irresistible.

For this recipe, we will employ the home version of a deep fryer, which basically means you will need a few essential pieces of equipment -- a small heavy saucepan, high heat food thermometer, a slotted spoon, and a quart of mild-flavored high heat cooking oil such as canola or vegetable oil.

Be extra cautious when deep frying to avoid any oil splashes. The temperature of the oil should always hover between 350-375 degrees F for a nice golden brown. Allow the oil to fully cool before disposal, and never, ever pour it down a drain.

Orange Ricotta Doughnut Holes with Cinnamon & Sugar

2 cups vegetable oil

1 1/4 cup flour

1 cup ricotta cheese

2 eggs

3 Tbs. sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/8 tsp.


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cayenne pepper

1 orange, zest & juice

Sugar, as needed for garnish

Ground cinnamon, as needed for garnish

Pour oil into a medium sauce pan. Heat to 365 degrees F.

In a large bowl, whisk together ricotta cheese, eggs, 3 Tbs. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, orange zest & juice. Stir in flour until all is incorporated.

Using two spoons, gently drop heaping tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil. Don't overcrowd the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove each from oil and place on a paper-towel lined tray. Repeat until batter is gone. Sprinkle as desired with additional sugar and cinnamon. Add more oil as needed, and maintain temperature between 350-375 degrees F.

Jessica Roy is a specialty chef and caterer, food writer and chef instructor, and owner of Shiso Kitchen in Somerville, where she teaches classes. Follow her at http://blogs.lowellsun.com/ yourpersonalchef.