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Take a stroll through Queen Victoria Market


Melbourne is a magical place to visit at Christmas. Its electric festive atmosphere, thriving culinary scene, cultural diversity and numerous holiday events and activities make it the perfect destination for the whole family. One of Emma’s favourite places to visit is the iconic Queen Victoria Market.

For more than a century, Queen Victoria Market has served as Melbourne’s beating heart and soul. Spanning two city blocks, the historic landmark stands as a lively and bustling urban marketplace offering local and international gourmet foods, cosmetics, jewellery, clothing and souvenirs.

Queen Victoria Market is a must-visit when in Melbourne, but it’s not just a place to shop; it’s also a vibrant cultural experience. You can enjoy street performances, walking tours, interactive events or simply soak up the lively atmosphere — especially at Christmas time!

When visiting the markets, be sure to pick up everything you need to prepare a scrumptious Christmas feast. A few of Emma’s favourites are the chilli flakes and ginger spice from Gewürzhaus spice mill, all the key ingredients from the fresh food section, poultry from The Chicken Pantry and, of course, decorations from Ambiance Gifts to add a touch of Christmas magic to any occasion all year round.

One of the market’s most iconic vendors is the American Doughnut Kitchen. For more than 70 years, the American Doughnut Kitchen has operated from Queen Victoria Market and has a loyal following of customers spanning generations. The business’s famous recipe has remained unchanged because when you’re onto a good thing, why change it?

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Co-owner Belinda Donaghey has spent most of her life surrounded by doughnuts. Her grandfather was one of the original founders in 1950. On Christmas eve, the American Doughnut Kitchen can serve 150 customers an hour. That’s a lot of doughnuts walking out the door … over 400kg of dough, in fact! It’s the recipe, which has remained unchanged for 73 years, that has customers returning time and time again.

To plan your Christmas, search/visit What’s On Melbourne at whatson.melbourne.vic.gov.au

Doughnuts with Sweet Balsamic Strawberries and whipped Quince Ricotta

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Whipped ricotta cream? Have you had it? If not, then merry Christmas. It’s light and whipped, and when sweetened with a little maple syrup and a gorgeous quince and wattleseed paste, it makes the perfect sweet snack or breakfast. Pair it with my divine balsamic strawberries and you’ve got a wholesome 3pm pick-me-up or effortless weekday breakfast. If you can’t get your hands on some doughnuts from the American Doughnut Kitchen, I’ve shared my homemade doughnut recipe. It’s not as good as Belinda’s pop’s recipe, but it’s pretty close! Run out of strawberries? No worries. Blackberries, blueberries and raspberries all fit the bill perfectly.

Ingredients:

Doughnuts

  • 250g plain bread or baker’s fl our
  • 150mL full cream milk
  • 50g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1 free-range egg yolk
  • 2 tbsp panela sugar, plus extra to serve
  • 3 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp Murray River Salt Flakes, crumbled
  • Grapeseed oil, for deep frying
  • Mint, for garnishing

Whipped Ricotta Cream

  • 200g That’s Amore Cheese Ricotta Delicata
  • 2 tsp pure maple syrup (or honey, but I really love the maple flavour)
  • 60g tub Tucker’s Quince & Wattleseed Fruit Paste

Balsamic Strawberries

  • 250g Driscoll’s Strawberries, diced, plus extra to serve
  • 2 tbsp Mazzetti Aged Balsamic Vinegar Black Label

Method:

  1. Whisk 2 tbsp of the flour and the milk together in a medium, heavy-based saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl. Whisk in the butter until melted and combined, and leave to cool to lukewarm, whisking occasionally.
  2. Whisk the egg yolk into the lukewarm milk mixture and then add the remaining flour, panela, yeast and crumbled Murray River Salt Flakes. Mix to form a dough, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 10 mins.
  3. Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 mins or until quite smooth — don’t be tempted to add lots of flour. The dough will become less sticky as you knead it. Place the dough in a clean bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm place to prove for about 1 hour or until the dough doubles in size. The time will depend on the temperature.
  4. Meanwhile, to make the ricotta cream, place the That’s Amore Cheese Ricotta Delicata and maple syrup in a bowl. Blend with a hand mixer (I love Smeg’s electric hand mixer) until smooth and whipped. Scoop the ricotta cream into a bowl, fold in the Tuckers Quince & Wattleseed Paste and refrigerate until required.
  5. To prepare the balsamic strawberries, place the Driscoll’s Strawberries and Mazzetti Aged Balsamic Vinegar Black Label in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and cook for 2-3 mins or until the strawberries just begin to soften and the mixture thickens slightly. Set aside to cool.
  6. Turn the proved dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough very gently for 5 secs or until smooth. Cover and rest the dough for 5 mins to relax. Pat the dough out into a circle about 1.5cm thick and cut out as many rounds as you can using a 5.5cm round cutter. Put the rounds on a tray lined with baking paper and cover loosely with a damp tea towel. Set aside in a warm place for about 30 mins or until risen slightly. Knead the remaining dough together gently, rest for a few mins and cut more rounds. You should end up with about 16. (Alternatively, divide the dough into 16 even pieces and fold each into a ball, pinching the dough at the bottom, making sure the surface is taut.)
  7. Add enough oil to a large saucepan to reach a depth of 6cm. Heat to 160°C on a cooking thermometer over medium-high heat. Add 2-3 donuts to the hot oil and cook for about 2 mins each side or until puffed, deep golden brown and cooked through. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining dough.
  8. Toss the warm donuts in the extra panela to coat, then set aside to cool slightly. Cut a small wedge from the top of each doughnut with a small, serrated knife. Spoon the ricotta cream into the doughnuts and top with a spoonful of balsamic strawberries. Garnish with some mint leaves.

Emma’s Hot Tip: If you’re in Melbourne, be sure to pick up some pre-made jam doughnuts from the American Doughnut Kitchen at Queen Victoria Market.

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