Mikan-fennel-elderflower chiffon doughnuts

Unlike previous doughnut cream articles that I have written, this is a much more simplified dessert. Mostly for two reasons: 1., I didn’t have time to make proper doughnut creams of these flavor profiles since I was making these on a Thursday for a Friday meeting and 2. doughnut creams take one full day to prepare, and as a working adult, I don’t get a full day, I get weird 16 hour intervals, where 2/3rds of it are wasted on either driving or sleeping. While I will admit that these are simple, the flavors of the chiffon and the glaze and the candied mikan zest make up for the lack of components with a true embracing of the flavors.

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The inspiration for this dessert’s flavors came from the season, really. My parents brought home enough satsuma mikans to put a WholeFoods or farmers market out of business, and I had to great rid of them. Satsuma mikans are a Japanese tangerine, prized for their fragrant and aromatic zest, and are a popular fall to winter fruit. I wanted to pair those with flavors of autumn and spring, just to allow the dessert to be a bridge between all three seasons, so that’s where the idea to add fennel pollen and elderflower to the mix came from. I used olive oil to help accent the flavors of the mikan and fennel as well, which resulted in an Italian-Japanese-European profile, but it works on the doughnut, in a strange, hodgepodgey way.

For the chiffon cake:
4 egg whites
2 egg yolks
2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated satsuma mikan zest
1 teaspoon elderflower liquor
1 teaspoon fennel pollen

Whip together the whites with 1/3 cup of the 1/4 cup of sugar to stiff peaks. Whip the egg yolks with the remaining sugar, olive oil, zest, elderflower, and fennel. Sift the flour and baking powder together. Fold everything together. Pipe into a lined doughnut mold and bake at 350 degrees F for 18 minutes. After 18 minutes, turn off the oven, leave the door slightly open, and allow the cakes to cool to room temperate in the oven.

For the glaze:
2 egg yolks
Juice from 4 satsume mikans
1 tablespoon mikan zest
1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen
a pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon elderflower liquor
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Bring mikan juice, salt, fennel pollen, and liquor to a simmer. Temper in the egg yolks. Whip over medium heat until the yolks are thickened. Add in olive oil and white chocolate. Mix off heat and strain.

For the candied zest:
1/2 cup satsuma mikan peels; pith (white parts) removed
2 cups water; in two parts
1 tablespoon elderflower liquor
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar; in one part and three parts
1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen
1/4 cup satsuma mikan juice

Bring 1 cup of water to a simmer. Boil the peels in the water for 2-3 minutes. Strain. Boil again in the remaining water and liquor. Strain again. Reduce the mikan juice, one part of the sugar, and salt. Add in the peels. Allow the liquid to reduce and glaze the peels. Carefully remove the peels and spread out on a nonstick surface. Allow the peels to refrigerate for 5-6 minutes. Toss the fennel pollen with the remaining sugar. Toss the peels into the sugar to coat.

Assembly:
Glaze each doughnut and garnish with the zest. If storing, wrap and freeze so that the chiffon cakes do not dry out.

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