One of the first recipes Ashley Christensen ever attempted to cook by herself was beignets from a box of Café du Monde mix. The brains behind Raleigh’s beloved restaurant Poole’s Diner was probably about seven or eight then. Her mother walked into the kitchen right around the time that she was heating up a giant pot of oil, shrieked, and promptly shut down her doughnut recipe operation. But Christensen’s love for doughnuts lived on, and grew more sophisticated than the standard box mix. She even learned how to throw in some vegetables—vegetables are healthy, right? These zucchini fritters from have a restrained sweetness, but if you’d like to amp up the sugar, add 1 teaspoon to the mascarpone frosting you serve with the zucchini doughnuts.

Zucchini Doughnuts with Mascarpone

  • Yields: 20 to 30 golf ball-size doughnuts



  1. Place the zucchini in the center of a large double-layer square of cheesecloth. Gather the edges together and carefully squeeze out as much excess liquid as you can. Set the zucchini aside.

  2. Place the pâté à choux in a large bowl and fold in the zucchini and granulated sugar with a spatula. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

  3. Line a platter with several layers of paper towels. Fill a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven halfway full with oil and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 330°F on a deep-fry thermometer. Scoop 10 to 12 tablespoon-size portions of the batter into the oil. Fry the doughnuts until they’re golden on one side, about 4 minutes. Flip the doughnuts and fry for 3 minutes more, until they are golden brown on all sides. Test for doneness by transferring one doughnut to the paper towel-lined platter and break it open to check it; the inside should be custardy but not raw. Transfer all of the doughnuts in the batch to the platter. Repeat with the remaining batter in batches until all of the batter is used.

  4. Let the last batch of doughnuts cool slightly, then sift confectioners’ sugar over all of the doughnuts. Serve alongside the mascarpone. Instruct your guests to tear open the doughnuts and slather with some of the mascarpone.

Excerpted with permission from Poole's by Ashley Christensen, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.