Since we’re devoting the month of March to loving our hometowns, we thought it would be fun to invite a couple of the local chefs we love to stop by our studio kitchen and school us on one amazing dish that represents Austin. First up? Callie Speer, pastry chef extraordinaire at Swift’s Attic and fun, sexy girl friend who makes us want to get in the kitchen and start baking. Click through for her can’t-miss tips on making perfect donuts at home, as well as her secrets to great dough and the story behind that amazing wedding cake tattoo.
*photos by Buff Strickland
Before we get to the doughnuts, a few questions for Callie:
How do you get inspired when you’re dreaming up a new dessert for the Swift’s menu?
I like to use ingredients that are nostalgic, and part of everyday life, but spruce them up. It’s fun to create something that people are familiar with, but give it new and creative life. I have a salted popcorn ice cream on the menu, as well as a dessert that incorporates Cap’n Crunch cereal and blueberry bubbles (Crunch berries!!)
Like so many cities, Austin has really embraced the shop local ethos, and the food community here boasts an amazing array of local farmers, artisans, brewers and makers. To make this recipe quintessentially Austin, Callie was inspired to use as many locally-sourced ingredients as possible. Pictured here: pottery from Keith Kreeger, Salted Brown Butter Texas Pecan Brittle from The Chocolate Makers Studio (yes, it is as amazing as it sounds), and beans from Tweed Coffee Roasters.
I’m always a little intimidated to work with homemade pastry dough, so I asked Callie for her tips:
It’s easiest to start mixing the dough with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Once it starts to form a ball, you can turn it out onto a floured surface and knead by hand, just until it comes together and there are no more flour chunks. This helps save your hands from becoming a sticky mess (at least somewhat!)
Tell us the story behind your awesome wedding cake tattoo!
A great friend of mine from Maine did this tattoo for me. He does really awesome Americana style tattoos. I wanted something that was fun, but representative of what I love. What better than a cake!?
We used basic round cutters – one large, one small – to cut doughnut shapes from the rolled-out dough.
Doughnuts are cut, time for the fryer! I’m honestly a little nervous about frying at home, so I asked Callie to break it down for us:
Start with a large pot, and fill it with oil (canola, vegetable, peanut). You want to have a couple of inches of oil in the pot, so that the doughnut is completely submerged, and has a little room to float. Use a kitchen thermometer to get the oil to 350 degrees. Keep the thermometer handy. If your oil starts getting too hot, turn down the heat to low for a bit. The doughnut will start to float partway through the frying, and this lets you know it’s about time to flip it over using a metal spoon or tongs. You want to get both sides nice and deep golden brown. It takes a doughnut or two to get the hang of it, but practice makes perfect! Don’t be afraid!
Once out of the fryer, we sprinkled the doughnuts with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar.
What’s your favorite part of being a pastry chef?
Being a pastry chef gives me an awesome outlet for creativity, and allows me to create things that make people happy on a daily basis. It’s super easy to make friends when you’re feeding people sweets!
What’s your favorite cookbook?
The Milk Bar cookbook! Those girls are some of my favorite people ever, and the book is awesome to boot! There are so many great, funky recipes, but all are very accessible even to those who are intimidated by baking!
We served our doughnuts with a scoop of coffee frozen yogurt and a sprinkle of Salted Brown Butter Texas Pecan Brittle.
Any tips for making great frozen yogurt at home?
This frozen yogurt recipe is so easy! You can infuse any flavor into the cream before you mix everything together. We used coffee, but there are so many great options. Spices, herbs, citrus zest. The sky is the limit with this.
What would your last meal be?
Mexican food and margaritas, hands-down!
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 2 eggs
- Mix all dry ingredients together and set aside.
- Melt your butter, and let it cool down before using.
- Mix together your milk, eggs, vanilla, and zest.
- Throw everything into a bowl together, and start mixing with a wooden spoon or spatula until it forms a rough ball. At this point, you can turn it out onto a floured surface, and knead until everything is well incorporated.
- Refrigerate the dough for a couple of hours, or as long as overnight.
- On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 1/2″ thick sheet. Using a donut cutter, or a small round cutter for donut holes, punch out the donuts.
- See above for frying instructions
- Toss the hot donuts in cinnamon sugar and serve!
Coffee Frozen Yogurt
- 2 cups cream
- 3 tablespoons ground coffee
- 3 cups greek yogurt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Heat the cream with the sugar, coffee, and salt. Once the cream is hot, turn the heat off and let the coffee flavor infuse for at least 30 minutes. This is the point where you can use any other flavors you want!
- Strain the cream mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the grounds.
- Mix the still-warm cream mixture and yogurt together in a bowl, and chill.
- Spin in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.
To taste Callie’s always innovative and completely addictive confections yourself, be sure to make a stop at Swift’s Attic on your next trip to Austin!
To see more of Buff’s work, click here.
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