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I don’t remember what exactly made me start thinking about donuts again. All I know is that, for about a week, they were quite imprinted in my mind. Then, while looking up recipes for donuts, I came across a recipe for creme brulee donuts that caught my eye. Why did no one think of this sooner!? More importantly, why are the only donut shops where one can buy them so far away? So, I made it my weekend project to give these a whirl.
I made two batches. The first, I made on my own. For the second, I had help. Thank you, partner!
First, I made the pastry cream.
In a small saucepan, heat your milk on medium heat until it starts to boil.
In a separate saucepan, whisk your egg yolks, sugar, and corn starch until smooth.
Once the milk comes to a boil, slowly add it into the egg yolk mixture to temper the eggs, then cook until thickened. You remove from heat, add your butter and vanilla, then set aside to cool. If you’re going to refrigerate overnight, make sure you cover it in plastic wrap to that the top of the wrap touches the top of the custard.
Then, I made the dough. For the record, I ended up making two batches. The first batch was made the night before, and the second was made the same day. I preferred the dough that sat in the refrigerator overnight. It was much easier to roll out and cut the donut shapes.
I mixed the dough ingredients by hand, and then transferred them to my electric mixer with the dough hook attachment.
I let it run until the dough kind of started balling up around the hook.
See the difference?
After that, I transferred my dough to a clean, lightly oiled bowl, covered it in plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator. The next morning, I rolled it out, cut my donuts (I used a 1.5in fondant cutter), and let them rise. A tip I took from another blog regarding the donuts is to cut out squares of parchment paper about twice the size of the unrisen donut and place each donut on top of a square. This way, once they are ready to fry, you don’t need to touch them to get them into the oil. Donuts are very fragile, and it’s easy to knock the air out of them and cause them to deflate. The less you touch them, the better.
Look how fluffy they look! They are ready for frying. At this time, it also might be a good idea to make the glaze.
Start with one at a time, until you get comfortable. But, don’t overcrowd your oil. Otherwise, you won’t be able to regulate your temperature.
Fry until both sides are nice and golden.
You can lay them on a plate lined with paper towels, or on a rack to drain the excess oil.
You’ll want to fill your donuts while they are still warm. I used a piping bag with the cupcake filling tip. Fill your donuts, then dip one side in the glaze. Generously sprinkle each glazed top with sugar, then use your kitchen torch to brulee the tops until brown.
My partner and I discovered that the best brulee crust was achieved by adding two separate coats of sugar to brulee. She was much better at it, so I delegated the task to her.
If your sugar isn’t dripping down the sides of your donut, you didn’t use enough! Of course, this is a matter of personal preference. But, if this is a creme brulee donut, it should have an adequate brulee crust, right?
Picture perfect! My suggestion to you is to call up some friends to help you with this.
Creme Brulee Donut Recipe
(makes about 15 donuts)
For the Pastry Cream:
- 5/8 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
For the Donuts
- 1/2 cup bread flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon, slightly heaping yeast
- 1/4 cup milk, warmed to 105F
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon butter, room temperature
- pastry cream
- doughnut glaze
- vegetable or canola oil for frying
For the glaze
- 1/2 to 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tablespoons water
- splash of vanilla extract
Make the pastry cream:
Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. In another heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, whisk the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together until thick and pale. Whisking all the while, very slowly drizzle a quarter of the hot milk onto the yolks. Then, still whisking, pour the rest of the liquid in a steady stream over the tempered yolks.
Put the pan over medium heat and while whisking vigorously, bring the mixture to the boil. Keep the mixture at the boil, whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture should start to thicken. When thick, remove the pan from the heat and scrape the pastry cream into a clean bowl. Allow the pastry cream to cool on the counter for about 3 minutes.
Cut the butter into chunks and stir the chunks into the hot pastry cream, continuing to stir until the butter is melted and incorporated. If your cream is lumpy, pass it through a fine mesh strainer to remove the lumps. At this point, the cream needs to be thoroughly chilled. Set the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the cream from time to time to cool. When chilled, place the pastry cream into a pastry bag with a plain tip.
Make the Donuts:
Mix together the flours, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk. Work the milk and the dry ingredients together with your fingers.
Add the eggs and work the ingredients until you have a rough ball of dough. Add the butter, a bit at a time until it is thoroughly mixed in. At this point you can either knead the dough by hand for 10-15 minutes until smooth and elastic or you can put it in your stand mixer and mix knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
When the dough is smooth, elastic and not sticky, transfer it to a large clean town and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or overnight. The dough should be doubled in size.
When the dough is doubled, transfer to a clean, lightly floured work surface and roll the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out the doughnuts using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (I used a 1.5 inch round fondant cutter). Transfer the doughnuts to a parchment paper lined baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Cover and let rise, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. They doughnuts should be doubled in volume and appear full of air.
Heat oil in a cast iron skillet or deep fryer until between 320-340F. Prepare a plate with paper towels or a baking sheet with a rack to drain your hot doughnuts on. Gently place doughnuts in the hot oil and fry until golden on both sides, about 2-4 minutes.
Fill the doughnuts while they’re still warm. Use a sharp paring knife to make a small hole on one side of the doughnut. Insert the pastry tip into the hole and pipe pastry cream until the doughnut feels heavy. You can also use the cupcake filling pastry tip to do this.
Make the glaze:
Mix all ingredients together until smooth.
Dip the tops of the doughnuts into the glaze and set down on a baking sheet, glaze side up. Lightly sprinkle on a small amount of sugar onto the glaze. Using a kitchen torch, torch the top of the doughnut until caramelized and brown. Enjoy doughnuts immediately.