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BING CHERRY DOUGHNUTS

4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately
2 packets yeast
1 pound Bing cherries, pitted
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup milk
6 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Vegetable oil for deep frying
1 pint vanilla ice cream, optional

The night before or early in the day, place 2 cups flour, 1/2 packet
yeast and 1/4 cup warm water in a large bowl. Mix with wooden spoon
until blended, cover with plastic wrap. Set aside at room temperature
10 to 12 hours. Mixture should double. Refrigerate if not ready to
continue with recipe. Run half the cherries through a juice
extractor or puree in a blender and strain. Place juice in saucepan
with apple and 3/4 cup sugar. Simmer until thick and jamlike, 10
to 15 minutes. Cool. Chop and add remaining cherries. Refrigerate.

Set 1/3 cup flour aside. Place remaining flour on a work surface.
Make a well in center, and add risen flour-yeast mixture, remaining
yeast, milk, egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, lemon zest and butter.
Work flour into other ingredients from outside to center, forming
a sticky mass. Knead by hand or machine 10 to 15 minutes, adding
more flour if needed, until barely sticky and very elastic. Place
dough in lightly floured bowl. Cover. Refrigerate at least 1 1/2
hours.

No more than 8 hours before serving, roll out dough to about 1/2
inch thick on floured surface. Allow to sit 20 minutes. Place
remaining sugar on a salad-size plate.

Meanwhile, in a wok or large saucepan, heat oil 2 to 3 inches deep
to 360 degrees (no hotter than 375 degrees). Using a 3 1/2-inch
biscuit cutter, cut 8 rounds, or use a 2 1/2-inch cutter to make
12 rounds. Scraps can be kneaded briefly, then rerolled. Place in
oil, and fry until brown, 90 seconds or so on each side. Place
cooked doughnuts on several thicknesses of paper towel to absorb
excess oil, then immediately roll in sugar on plate. 6. Using a
pastry tube, fill warm doughnuts with cherry mixture. Or poke a
hole in each with the narrow end of a wooden spoon, and force in
filling through a funnel. Serve with ice cream, if desired, and
with remaining cherry mixture as a sauce.

Yield: 8 to 10 large doughnuts, 12 to 16 medium-size ones.

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