National Doughnut Week (9 – 16 May)

May 9, 2009toMay 16, 2009

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National Doughnut Week is supported by celebrity chefs Ainsley Harriott and Brian Turner and sponsored by The Children’s Trust, a registered Charity.

For seven days every year, bakers up and down the country sell doughnuts to raise money for The Children’s Trust.  Every doughnut sold by participating bakers in National Doughnut Week raises money for The Children’s Trust, a national charity that provides specialist care and rehabilitation for children with multiple disabilities.

Over the last 17 years, National Doughnut Week has raised £630,000. In this, the silver anniversary of The Children’s Trust, we hope to raise at least £50,000!!

So join in the fun and make this our best fundraiser for the charity ever!

spring-donutMost of us associate doughnuts (sometimes shortened to donuts) with the USA, but fried dough has been eaten many European countries for hundreds of years, and possibly for as long as bread has been made : certainly well before the “new world” was colonised.

So, it’s a European invention? Well, perhaps not. Here comes the spanner in the works.  Whilst it’s true that the Puritans took a doughnut recipe with them to the US which they discovered during their stay in Holland, they did arrive to find that the Native American Indians were also preparing and cooking a form of doughnut. Unfortunately, how long they’d been preparing them is very difficult to say.

So let’s get back to what we definitely know. Doughnuts in Europe.

In Holland, Germany and France , fried “cakes” enjoy a long history and have, over the years, been particularly associated with Christmas and/or Lent. In Holland (Ollie-bollen) they were traditionally shaped into decorative knots and rolled in sugar; in France (beignets) they were round or square shaped and also liberally sprinkled with icing or powdered sugar and in Germany (fastnachtkuches or Berliners) they were often filled with jam, as they are in the UK.

On the other hand, the ring doughnut as we know it, is generally credited as being a US invention, despite the fact that many holed European fried confectioneries already existed. Although John Blondell got the patent for the first ring doughnut cutter in 1872, it is thought to have been the idea of one Mason Gregory who was a sea captain. The story goes that he didn’t like the stodgy dough in the centre of the usual round doughnuts: most likely he was just impatient for them to cook through properly,† so he punched a hole in the centre with a tin pepper box.† The story is is further elaborated saying he would then place the doughnut onto the ships wheel to keep it safe.

By the way, the 1st Friday in June is National Doughnut day in the US and was established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army to raise funds during the Great Depression.

Many other countries also have their own versions of doughnuts. Local equivalents include Sufganiyah from Israel, zooloobiya from Iran and further afield Sata andagi from Japan, Donat Kentang from Indonesia and koeksuster from South Africa.

Make your own doughnut pudding:
funkidslive.com/fun-cooking-doughnut-pudding

For more information on the wek and where to buy doughnuts:
www.nationaldoughnutweek.org