There are certain unhealthy things you have to pull out of the closet once a year and make just for the sake of the day – or season – and most Canada days I make Nanaimo bars and butter tarts – so frequently, in fact, that I begin to crave both around the end of June. Ditto mini doughnuts – having grown up in Calgary, the first week of summer always smells like the midway. I’ve always been one to forego candy apples and cotton candy in lieu of fried dough in its many forms – this year I decided to combine the two holidays and make a batch of beaver tails, which have been around since the seventies, and if you’re in eastern Canada are as Canadian as any doughnut. (Mini or not.)
Yes, beaver tails are the trademarked name for yeast-risen fried dough made by an Ottawa company since 1978 – they come slathered in Nutella sometimes, or just doused in cinnamon-sugar, which is my preferred accessory for fried doughs. You could do whatever you like with it though – the oval shape makes it easy to top with other delicious things, and the scored top, besides making them reminiscent of actual beaver tails, helps spreadable toppings grip. I imagine it would make an ideal mattress for ice cream and hot fudge sauce… perhaps the next batch.
This is a fairly classic yeasted doughnut dough, fried in oil and doused in sugar – you could really use most any yeasted doughnut dough – but these are based on a version in the Great Canadian Cookbook.