From the time my three sisters and I were little, we have had a special Fathers’ Day tradition. There is a wonderful secret in Maine called Reid State Park. It combines the excitement of a nice hot beach day with the serenity of a shady picnic, because not only do they have a mile long beach, they have a rockier shore interspersed with pines and picnic tables. So after spending a few hours in the sand and surf, we retire to our favorite table (complete with its own grill), pull out our cooler and feast! Among our delicacies this year were some locally made bratwursts, curry pumpkin and potato empanadas, and yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting, our dad’s favorite.
On the way to Reid this year, Noah and I stopped in a gas station to grab a quick snack and I saw that they were selling Raspberry Bismarks from Appletree Bakery in Solon. I knew that my sister, Melissa, was in love with these. Growing up, you could always find them at the gas station in our hometown, but lately they’ve been harder to find. Earlier this year, we’d all gone snowshoeing at our camp up North and she’d been anticipating finding one somewhere up there, but had been sorely disappointed. So when I saw one, I just had to score some extra brownie points and pick it up for her. The look on her face when I presented it to her was well worth the spare change!
Sadly, that bismark’s fate lay along a path that did not involve my sister’s digestive system. She had tucked it in her bag and taken it with us to the beach. We set up our blanket and had just started off for a walk down the beach when our beach blanket neighbors hollered to us, “That seagull took something from your bag!” The rest was just laughter and vain chasing as we watched the bird struggle away with this bismark half his size. We were worried about him eating the plastic or leaving it strewn about, but there was no catching him. He flew off into the warm morning haze with the biggest prize of his life. Enjoy your sugar high, little birdie.
*Sigh* So all that’s to say…I felt I needed to remedy the situation for Melissa’s sake and why the heck not involve my blog in my redemptive efforts? So this week I made, not Raspberry Bismarks, but Strawberry Rhubarb Bismarks, because according to Mel, they are the real cat’s meow (erm, she may or may not have used those exact words).
Step one was to find a recipe that I could use as a guideline, but you know what? I couldn’t find a single one that resembled the image in my head. The bismark I was trying to recreate was a doughnut-like pastry in the shape of a triangle filled with fruit filling and a saccharine cloud-white frosting, finished off with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar. Have you had one? The bismarks I found online were what I thought of as jelly doughnuts…round doughnuts filled with jelly. Not quite what I was after. However, it gave me a jumping off point.
In the end, I decided a bismark is just a doughnut dough, shaped in a triangle and filled with things I knew how to make. I found a very good doughnut recipe and then concocted the strawberry rhubarb filling and the frosting out of my head. (I know, I know, such brilliance to know how to cook fruit and sugar in a pot. Please, don’t hold your applause.)
I cannot claim the doughnut recipe for my own. It was posted to justapinch.com by Peggi Anne Tebben. When I look for recipes on the internet, I don’t just grab one willy nilly. I generally look to see how many stars it has and how many people have reviewed it. If it has five stars, yet those stars are based on a single review, I usually pass it by. I prefer a recipe that has 4-5 stars based on hundreds or thousands of reviews. Generally those are the good recipes. However, I try a lot of recipes, particularly from blogs, that don’t get reviews. I find the better the photography, the better the recipe. It’s a little bias in my head that is probably based on only a smidge of fact.
Speaking of photography, here’s some of mine. Feel free to scorn it, I used my phone. *facepalm* My “real” camera battery was dead…
Strawberry Rhubarb Bismarks (Some Assembly Required)
Mom’s Raised Doughnuts (not my mom’s, Peggi’s)
½ c warm water
2 pkg (4 ½ t) active dry yeast (I like Saf Instant brand)
¾ c milk
¼ c sugar + 1 tsp for yeast
1 t salt
4 c all-purpose flour, sifted
⅓ c shortening
1. Bloom the yeast in a small bowl with the warm water and a tsp of sugar, five minutes.
2. Scald milk in a small pan (heat just enough to see bubbles around edge of pot). Melt the shortening in the milk while it’s heating up.
3. Measure the sugar and salt into a large bowl. Pour milk/shortening mixture over these and stir until dissolved. Make sure this mixture is warm and not hot when you do the next step (you don’t want to kill your yeast!).
4. Add 1 cup of the flour, eggs and yeast slurry. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Continue adding the remaining flour until you have a soft dough. When the dough leaves the sides of the bowl, turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
5. Place in a lightly greased bowl, top down. Turn so the whole surface of the dough is lightly coated with oil, top side up. Cover with clean towel and let it rise in a warm place (80-85 F) until doubled. The recipe says this will take 1 ½ hours, but mine only took a half hour. I heated our oven up a bit and immediately turned it off, so it would be nice and warm. It was perhaps a little too warm. The dough rose very quickly, but the end result didn’t seem to have any ill effects. In the winter, I usually just put the dough bowl near the pellet stove. Oh, and if you try the oven thing, make sure you use a glass bowl, please, and no flammable coverings!
This is where her recipe ends and mine begins…
6. Once the dough is doubled, turn out on lightly floured surface and roll out to ½ inch thickness. Trim your dough into a large square. Divide into smaller squares. Mine were probably 3×3 inches, but you can do whatever size you want. The end result will be larger than what you cut because the yeast will cause them to expand. Divide each square into two triangles.
7. Separate these and let them rise on a floured surface 40-60 minutes until light.
8. Drop these gently into fat at 325-350 F. I used canola oil and monitored the temp with a candy/oil thermometer clipped to the side. Turn doughnuts when they are barely brown. Turn once again when browned sufficiently. I did notice that the bismarks did continue to cook a bit after I had taken them out of the oil, due to carryover cooking, so if you’re worried they’re a little undercooked, they’ll probably be okay.
9. Toss these in a mixture of granulated and powdered sugar while they are slightly warm so it sticks.
Vanilla Marshmallow Frosting
1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
1 t vanilla
2-3 c powdered sugar
½-1 c marshmallow fluff
You’ll have to forgive me for the measurements. I just tossed things in the mixer.
Cream the butter until soft and light in color. Add enough sugar and marshmallow fluff to make a nice thick frosting. Add the vanilla and salt. You can thin it out with a little cream or milk if you need to.
Strawberry Rhubarb Compote
3-4 c strawberries, halved
1-2 c rhubarb, diced
½-1 c sugar
spices of your choice: cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice (go easy), ginger
Cook these gently on the stove until you have a chunky compote.
Once everything is cooled down, slice the bismarks most of the way through and fill with compote first and finish with frosting. It looks nice if you pipe the frosting in with a star tip.
And that is that!
The sad conclusion of this story is that I wasn’t able to arrange a visit with Melissa in time to give one of these to her. They don’t keep well and are best eaten the same day they are made. However, she can make this recipe herself now! Or perhaps, we shall make them together one of these days.
Peace to you all!