A few months ago when I was looking through the Nintendo Wii’s virtual console for games to stream on Twitch I came across a title I didn’t recognize: Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom. I really had no idea what I was getting into, but the game seemed like it was all about food so how could I resist!?
But seriously, what did I get myself into!? This game is absolutely bonkers. First of all, it’s incredibly particular, but I suppose that’s nothing new from the adventure game genre. You have to make sure to CHECK and LOOK at every last bit of scenery multiple times or you’re bound to miss something and spend the next hour trying to figure it out! I streamed this game as a blind play-through and those viewers got to see the struggle firsthand.
The game isn’t without charm and was still enjoyable all things considered. You play as Sir Cucumber and his ward, a persimmon named Percy, as they unravel the dastardly plot of Minister Pumpkin who has kidnapped Princess Tomato. If that all sounds like the fever dream of some kid who watched too much Veggie Tales to you, that’s because it is. Everything in this game is a vegetable or a fruit: the NPCs, the buildings, there are even actual vegetables that they eat! Like, where do you draw the line? There certainly was no shortage of genuine wtf moments while playing through the game and one of them is actually the inspiration for this recipe.
At one point in the game you are ushered into the bathroom of a seedy cabaret (pun intended, as always) for seemingly no reason. However, a closer inspection of the “extremely clean” vicinity reveals an asparagus doughnut just hanging out on top of the garbage. Now being the huge EarthBound fan that I am, digging around in trashcans for food is nothing new to me, but for whatever reason the absurdity of this doughnut and its apparent asparagus flavor got my creative juices flowing.
After looking at some examples of vegetable infused pastry online it turned out that the process of making a real life asparagus doughnut wouldn’t be all the difficult after all. However, I was curious as to what the difference in taste would be between green and white asparagus so I did some experimentation on my test kitchen stream that week. The conclusion was that although white asparagus was sweeter than green and therefore would make sense to be included in a sweet doughnut, it ended up occupying this strange, uncanny valley of flavor that just left me uneasy after a few bites. In the end, I decided to go with green asparagus for a more vegetal quality and subtle color.
I had the opportunity to share these doughnuts with some unsuspecting taste testers from work and was excited to hear their feedback. Although they noticed this doughnut tasted different than a normal doughnut, the flavor was said to be pleasant by everyone who tried it. Once I revealed that the secret ingredient was asparagus, the disappointed groans I was expecting were instead replaced by enthusiastic approval!
Princess Tomato in the Salad Kingdom was a weird game to say the least, but sometimes you can find good stuff in weird places. But not a bathroom garbage can, don’t do that.
+ Asparagus Doughnuts +
makes about 10 doughnuts
|Active Dry Yeast||1 tsp|
|Warm Water||¼ cup|
|Asparagus||½ cup + a little extra for garnish|
|Butter||3 Tbsp (room temp)|
|AP Flour||14 oz + extra for dusting|
|Vegetable Oil||for frying|
- Sharp knife and a cutting board
- Mixing bowls
- Medium sauce pot (for blanching)
- Food processor or immersion blender
- Electric mixer w/ dough hook (recommended)
- Round cookie or biscuit cutters or a doughnut cutter
- Heavy bottomed cook pot (for frying)
- Metal tongs
- Candy/frying thermometer (recommended)
- Paper towels
1) Start by sprinkling the active dry yeast into the ¼ cup of warm water and stir briefly to dissolve. This is known as ‘blooming’ and is necessary in order to activate the active dry yeast. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes as we gather our other ingredients.
2) We’ll want to blanch our asparagus so it’s tender and vibrant before incorporating it into the doughnut dough. To prepare the asparagus, remove the woody bottoms by snapping them off with your fingers or cutting them off with a knife. Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring it to a boil on the stove. Drop in the asparagus and simmer for about 3 minutes or until they’re soft and then carefully remove them and run them under cold water to cool them off.
3) Now we can start putting our dough together. Blend up a ½ cup of blanched asparagus with the ⅓ cup of milk using a blender or food processor until relatively smooth. Place the butter, flour, sugar, salt, and egg, as well as the asparagus milk mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (you could also knead by hand, but be prepared for the long haul.) Start the mixer on low speed to incorporate the ingredients, then slowly add in the bloomed yeast and water. Increase the knead speed (ha) to medium high until the dough comes together and is tacky but not overly sticky (see image below.) If the dough IS too sticky, you can slowly add more AP flour until the consistency improves.
4) Lightly grease a large bowl and place the completed dough in the center. Wrap the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and leave in a warm place for around an hour or until the dough has doubled in volume.
5) After the dough has risen, punch it down and transfer it to a lightly floured work surface. Gently roll it out to a thickness of ½” and begin cutting out large circular shapes with your cookie, biscuit, or doughnut cutter (wide mouth drinking or cocktail glasses work as well!) The dough is fairly soft so be careful not to warp the rounds too much as you remove the excess dough and don’t be shy about sprinkling on more flour if it’s starting to get sticky. Place the excess dough back in the bowl and cover it once again.
6) Cut out the middle of the doughnut rounds and cover them with a damp cloth while you prepare to fry. It may help to transfer the doughnuts to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and dusted with flour in order to prevent them from sticking to the table. Take out the excess dough from the previous step and use it to repeat steps 5 and 6 once more in order to maximize your doughnut yield!
7) Fill a heavy bottomed pot with about 2″ of vegetable oil and place over medium high heat. We are looking to fry the doughnuts at 325°F so a deep frying or candy thermometer is useful here. Once the appropriate temperature is reached, adjust the heat to medium and begin frying. Fry the doughnuts for 2 minutes before turning them over with a pair of metal tongs and then continuing to fry for another 2 minutes. After that, Carefully remove the doughnuts from the oil with the tongs and place them on a paper towel lined tray to cool.
8) At this point, the doughnuts are certainly ready to eat, but if you’re looking to fancy it up a little bit, brush them with softened butter and sprinkle the tops with kosher or sea salt as well as finely chopped asparagus pieces!
Hey! Thanks for reading all the the way to the end! You’re awesome :D! If you haven’t already and are looking for more nerdy food stuff, consider following me on Twitter, Facebook, tumblr and Instagram. I post a lot of work in progress pictures for the blog as well as stuff from my Twitch streams. If that sounds like something you’d be into, please check out those links above! Anyway, take care everyone and I’ll see you next time with an all-new recipe!
I also wanted to add that recently launched a Patreon page where fans like you can help support me directly! There are some pretty cool rewards in it for you as well so you’ll definitely want to check it out :].
Thanks to everyone who has supported me so far!
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