The traditional Isle of Wight Doughnuts, well-flavoured with spices, were originally made in vast quantities and drained on clean straw. They are excellent served hot with butter.
½ oz. fresh yeast
2 oz. plus
½ teaspoon brown sugar
5 fl. oz. plus
2 tablespoons lukewarm milk
1 oz. plus
1 teaspoon butter, melted
1 lb. flour
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoon ground mace
2 oz. currants sufficient vegetable oil for deep-frying
Crumble the yeast into a small bowl and mash in the
½ teaspoon of sugar. Add
2 tablespoons of the milk and cream the milk and yeast together. Set the bowl aside in a warm, draught-free place for
20 minutes, or until the yeast mixture is puffed up and frothy.
Grease a large baking sheet with the teaspoon of butter and set it aside.
Sift the flour, allspice, cinnamon, cloves and mace into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the yeast mixture and the remaining milk, sugar and melted butter.
Using your fingers or a spatula, gradually draw the flour mixture into the liquids. Continue mixing until all the flour is incorporated and the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Shape the dough into a ball and cover it with a clean, damp cloth. Set it aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 to 1| hours, or until the dough has almost doubled in bulk.
Turn the risen dough out on to a floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into about 30 very small balls. Press a few currants into the centre of each ball with your thumb and roll the balls on a board so that the currants are completely enclosed.
Put the dough balls on the baking sheet and cover them with a clean cloth. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 30 minutes.
In a deep-frying pan, heat the vegetable oil over moderate heat until it reaches 350°F on a deep-frying thermometer, or until a small cube of stale bread dropped into the oil turns light brown in 55 seconds. Drop the doughnuts into the oil, a few at a time. Fry them for 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, or until the doughnuts are golden brown all over.
With a slotted spoon, remove the doughnuts from the pan and place them on kitchen paper towels to drain. Keep them warm while you fry the remaining doughnuts in the same way.
Serve piping hot.