The batter for the donuts can be made ahead- though the small sweet balls are are best cooked just before serving- it’s their warmth that contributes half of the soothing appeal. Rather than seeing this task as a burden, view it as a good excuse to retire to the kitchen for ten minutes or so and give everyone else a breather before launching into yet another course of food.
The last time we served them to a crowd of eight the donuts sat next to sheep milk yoghurt panna cottas, poached rhubarb and a syrup made from the scarlet rhubarb and blood orange juices- though they would be just as lovely with a pot of lightly sweetened Greek yoghurt and some slices of stone fruit.
They’re not strictly English (actually more Italian than anything, I suppose), but to me they conjure the same cozy, cheering quality as a few hours spent eating and drinking in a friendly pub. So for this reason (and many others), I heartily endorse them.