Doughnuts are one of those desserts that I’ve loved ever since I was a little girl. There was this little hole-in-the-wall doughnut shop in the town where I grew up, and my dad would sometimes take me there before he dropped me off at school. I was a fan of the classic glazed twist, but sometimes I would venture out and try a maple bar, or my dad’s favorite, a huge jelly-filled doughnut. I still love doughnuts as much as I did when I was little, and that’s why I love making them at home. I made a batch of buttermilk doughnuts last year, but this year I wanted to make a batch of cream-filled brioche doughnuts.
I will admit, these buttery pillows of cream-filled goodness do take a bit of effort to put together, but oh, the pay off is totally worth it. Since they do take a few hours to make I made a recipe that includes an overnight rise, because if you are like me and want to eat a doughnut first thing in the morning, this is the way to go.
In this recipe you will find three options for fillings. The first is the most classic: a vanilla bean pastry cream. I wanted to experiment with other flavors, so I also included variations for a peanut butter filling and a white chocolate and orange filling that you will find below. I recommend making these filling the same night you make the dough, that way the filling has enough time to cool. There are so many options when it comes to filling these doughnuts, so get creative and fill them with a flavor you love. As you read the directions below, you may notice that I added a few extra tips that will help make your doughnut-baking endeavors a success.
If making doughnuts has been on you list, I hope you get to try this recipe, because they are SO good. And hey, since this recipe yields a large batch, go ahead and share them, I promise it will make anyone’s day.
Yields about 16
3 Tablespoons Sugar, divided
1 Packet Active Dry Yeast
1 Cup Whole Milk, warmed to 110Fº-115Fº
2 Large Eggs, + 1 Egg Yolk
1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Zest
3 1/4 Cups Bread flour, plus a bit extra
6 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter, room temperature
Vegetable Oil- for frying
Bowl of sugar- About 1 Cup
Equipment: Standing mixer, whisk, 1 medium bowls, cooling rack, or plate, 3-inch biscuit cutter, slotted spoon, pastry bag fitted with small tip,
In the bowl of a standing mixer add 1 tablespoon of the sugar along with the yeast. Pour in the warm milk and let mixture stand for about 5 minutes, or until the yeast starts to foam. Meanwhile, lightly grease a large bowl and set aside.
Once the yeast has foamed, whisk in the eggs, egg yolks, salt, vanilla, lemon zest, and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar into the milk mixture. Then, with the dough hook attached add in 3 1/4 cups flour and begin to mix on medium speed until the dough comes together, and beat for 5 minutes. The dough should begin to pull away from the sides, and become smooth, elastic, and slightly sticky. If the dough seems too sticky to handle, add a few pinches of flour.
With the mixer on, add the 6 tablespoons of butter, 1 piece at a time. Be sure to let each piece of butter get fully incorporated, before adding the next. The butter takes a little time to get mixed in, so don’t worry if that doesn’t happen right away. Once all the butter has been added, keep mixing the dough for another 2 minutes or so, then remove the dough and place into the lightly greased bowl. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel and place in a warm, draft free place for about 1 hour, or until it doubles in volume.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down to release the air, and fold it onto itself. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight, or for up to 12 hours.
In the morning, remove the dough and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before using. On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough until it is about 1/2’’ thick. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut out your dough rounds. Re-roll scraps once, and cut out as many rounds as you can.
Place the doughnut rounds onto a tray lined with parchment paper and loosely cover with a kitchen towel. Let rise in s warm, draft free space until almost doubled in size, about 30 minutes or so. This time can very, so just keep a close eye.
Once the rounds have risen, fill a large dutch dutch oven with 3- 4 inches of vegetable oil, and slowly heat until the oil reaches 350F°. Its very important that you keep an eye on this temperature as it can fluctuate quite quickly which can burn your doughnuts. Keep the temperature between350F°-360F°. If the temperature gets too high, pour some more oil into the pot, this will help reduce the heat quickly.
Working in small batches, fry the dough rounds until golden, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the doughnuts with a slotted spoon and place on cooling rack, or on a plate that has been lined with a paper towel. Let the doughnuts cool just for a minute or so, then gently roll in the bowl of sugar to coat; set aside.
To fill the doughnuts, using the handle of a fork, or some other kitchen tool, poke a small hole on the side of each doughnut. Don’t poke a hole all the way through, just far enough to create a space for all that delicious filling.
Transfer the vanilla custard to either a pastry bag fitted with a small tip, or you can also use a small zip lock bag. Simply cut off the tip of the bag, and use to fill each doughnut. Using the zip lock bag can be a little tricky, but if you don’t have a pastry bag, it will do the trick.
Serve these doughnuts the same day they are made, which I assure you won’t be a problem.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
Yields about 1 1/2 Cups
2 Cups Milk
1 Vanilla Bean
4 Large Egg Yolks
1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons Cornstarch
3 Tablespoons Flour
Pinch of Kosher Salt
Equipment: saucepan, 2 medium bowls, whisk, spatula, and a fine mesh sieve
Add milk and vanilla bean to a saucepan and place on medium heat until it begins to simmer.
While the milk is warming up, lightly whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until smooth.
Sift the the flour, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt into the yolk mixture. Mix these ingredients together very well, use a spatula if you need to.
Once the milk begins to steam, pour in a small amount (like 1/3 of a cup) into the yolks and whisk well. Then, in a steady stream, pour the rest of your milk into the medium bowl, whisking while you pour.
Now you can split your vanilla bean and add the seed to the bowl with the milk mixture. Whisk this for a few seconds, then pour the entire mixture through a fine mesh sieve and back into the saucepan. While whisking constantly, continue cooking the pastry cream until it just begins to boil, continue whisking for another 30 seconds, then remove from heat.
Once thickened, transfer the pastry cream to another bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Press the plastic wrap against the cream, this will help prevent a skin from forming. Place in fridge and let cool completely before using, preferably overnight.
Peanut Butter filling
Follow the recipe for vanilla custard, but omit the vanilla bean. Once the cooked custard custard has been transferred to a bowl, whisk in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter until smooth. Top each doughnut with a few chocolate chips as a garnish.
White Chocolate & Orange filling
Follow the recipe for vanilla custard. Once the cooked custard custard has been transferred to a bowl whisk in 3 oz chopped white chocolate and 2 teaspoon orange zest until smooth. *note: this filling is a little softer than the other two, so it will appear a littler runnier than the other two.
(Pastry cream adapted from Joy of Baking)