‘The Happiest Plates On Earth’: Homemade Donuts With Carrot Jam and Sheep’s Cheese Mousse- Inspired by ‘Zootopia’

For the first entry into my series, I’ve chosen 2016’s Zootopia as my inspiration.

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Let’s get right to the recipe!

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Carrot Jam:

2 cups fresh carrots, cleaned and finely chopped or shredded
1/4 cup honey
1/4 water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoons fresh nutmeg
2 sprigs fresh thyme, picked

Cooking:

In saucepan, add water, honey and sugar and warm until sugar is dissolved. Stir in carrots, lemon juice and zest. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally. Add in cayenne pepper, salt, and cinnamon. Insert candy thermometer and allow to cook until the mixture reaches 220 degrees f. Remove from heat and stir in fresh nutmeg and thyme leaves. Move into clean bowl and allow to cool completely before using.

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Sheep’s Cheese Mousse:

2 oz Chevre
2 oz Stilton
4 oz mascarpone
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon white pepper
3 green onions, finely chopped

Mixing:

In chilled bowl of stand mixer, add whipping cream and use whip attachment to mix on high until it starts to thicken. Add in mascarpone and continue to beat until you have a mousse consistency. Add in remaining ingredients and whip just until combined, being careful not to overwhip the mixture. Add more salt and pepper as you see fit.

Yeast Doughnuts:

3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
.25 oz instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water
4 cups bread flour, sifted
1/3 cup melted butter
2 eggs, room temperature and slightly beaten
Vegetable oil for frying

Mixing:

In a clean mixer bowl, stir together the buttermilk, melted butter, warm water, and beaten eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, salt, flour and instant yeast. Add dry ingredients to mixer bowl. Mix ingredients together with the dough hook attachment until a soft dough forms. Move dough to a clean greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and set aside in warm place until dough as doubled in size.

Cutting:
Once the dough has risen, place it on a lightly floured surface and knead for thirty seconds and then separate the dough into two or three even pieces, covering whatever you’re not using with a slightly damp paper towel. Working in batches, roll out dough to about half an inch thickness, Use a metal biscuit or cookie cutter to cut out round doughnuts, placing each finished doughnut on a small square of parchment on a cookie sheet. Cover finished doughnuts with damp paper towels as you work to keep them from getting tough. When finished cutting, place covered sheet pan in a warm location (I use my stovetop with the oven on to proof usually).

Frying:

Heat vegetable oil in pan on stove or in countertop fryer to 375 degrees. I usually test the temperature by getting my fingers wet under the faucet and flicking them above the fryer to see if it bubbles (Note: this is admittedly NOT a safe way to test a fryer). Very carefully lift the doughnuts off the cookie sheet and place them in the oil. Doughnuts will visibly puff up and brown on bottom when they are ready to be turned over. When doughnuts are golden brown on both sides, remove to rest on a paper towel and allow to cool completely before filling.

Filling:
With a serrated knife, cut open doughnuts along one side, creating a large pocket. Use either a spoon or a piping bag, fill each doughnut with a generous portion of cheese mousse and jam. Top doughnuts with freshly chopped thyme.

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When starting this project, I was faced with many films that I was not sure what to do with . This was not one of them. It came to me almost as quickly as I’d written Zootopia down in my idea notebook. I knew I wanted to do a doughnut to represent the cops in the movie. Then I started thinking about what kind of fillings I could put into them that would work thematically and flavor-wise and decided upon an ode to Judy- carrot jam. The problem was that I wasn’t sure if it was even a thing. One quick google search later, I was assured that it did in fact exist (not that that would have stopped me from making it). When it came to rounding out the flavor profile, I knew I wanted to add a creamy and cool element to the dish and I love funky cheese, so I decided to add a sheep’s cheese filling, with an almost cream cheese- like consistency, in honor of Mayor Bellwether. I was a little bit worried about how everything would work together, but the flavors all complimented each other quite well.

I hope you enjoy this sweet and savory treat.  In the words of Gazelle, ‘Try Everything’!

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