I’ve been promising to post this recipe for months… and honestly, the thought of typing it all out kind of exhausted me! But it needs to be shared with the world, so I finally forced myself to sit down and do it. And now I want a donut, dammit.
These donuts are UNREAL. Seriously insane. I truly think I could eat a whole batch of them in one sitting – they are so light, and fluffy, and perfectly sweet. Probably the best donuts I’ve ever had, and I’ve had my share of donuts! I know this recipe will look like it’s a lot of ingredients, and a lot of steps, and I’m not going to say they’re simple to make – but they’re not hard, and they are 100% worth it.
Sugar Dusted Donuts with Vanilla Custard Filling
makes about 18 donuts, and another dozen donut holes
For the vanilla custard filling:
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 T heavy cream
1.) Begin by scalding the milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. This simply means heating the milk until bubbles have formed around the edges of the pan, but not allowing it to come to a boil.
2.) While the milk heats, whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks well; then, add the flour mixture to the egg yolks, and whisk until you have a thick, paste-like mixture.
3.) When the milk is scalded, remove it from the heat, and slowly begin tempering the egg yolk mixture with the hot milk. To do this, simply add a very small amount of the hot milk to the yolk mixture, whisking continually as you add it. The idea is to gradually bring up the temperature of the yolk mixture; if you simply add the hot milk to the eggs, you’ll end up with scrambled eggs! Keep adding the milk, a small bit at a time, whisking all the while, until the two mixtures are fully combined.
4.) Once the yolk mixture and the milk are fully combined, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and place the pan over medium heat. Whisk the mixture continually as it heats. It will be very liquid and frothy at first, and will slowly thicken up.
5.) After a few minutes, when the custard has thickened up a bit, stop whisking occasionally (about every 20 seconds) to see if the mixture has come to a boil (if it has, you’ll just see a couple large bubbles coming to the surface and popping). Once it’s begun to boil, whisk for 5 more seconds (no more!), and then remove it from the heat.
6.) Pour the mixture through a strainer and into a heatproof bowl to remove any lumps, and mix in the vanilla. Place plastic wrap over the custard, pressing it down to make sure it is in contact with the surface of the custard (to prevent a skin from forming), and refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, until it is well-chilled.
7.) Once the custard is chilled through, take your (very cold) heavy cream and beat it with a whisk/hand mixer/stand mixer until you have whipped cream with firm peaks. Slowly fold the whipped cream into the custard mixture, and refrigerate until you’re ready to stuff the donuts!
For the donuts:
(donut recipe from here)
2 1/2 t active dry yeast
2 T warm water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
1 cup whole milk, at room temp
1/4 cup butter, softened
3 large egg yolks
2 T granulated sugar, plus more for coating the outside of the donuts
1 1/2 t salt
vegetable oil, for frying
1.) In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast, and allow the mixture to sit for about 5 minutes, until it’s nice and foamy.
2.) In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour, milk, butter, egg yolks, sugar, and salt. Once the yeast mixture is ready, add it to the work bowl, and use the dough hook (on low speed) to combine all the ingredients.
3.) Once everything comes together and a soft dough forms, turn the mixer speed up to medium-low, and knead for about another 3 minutes. The dough should be soft and a little bit sticky, but not too sticky to handle. If it still feels overly sticky, knead in additional flour (2 tablespoons at a time) until it is no longer overly tacky.
4.) Scrape all the dough into the center of the bowl, and sprinkle it with a bit of flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise in a warm place for 90 minutes to 2 hours, until the dough has doubled.
5.) Once the dough has doubled in bulk, turn it out on to a lightly floured surface. Lightly flour a rolling pin, and roll the dough out until it’s about 1/2″ thick. Use a round, 2.5″ cutter (or a drinking glass, if you don’t have a round cutter) to cut as many donuts out as possible. From the scraps, you can use a 1″ or 1.5″ cutter to cut out some donut holes (or simply cut the scraps into somewhat equal-sized, irregularly-shaped pieces with a knife).
6.) Lay all the donuts on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet, and cover the sheet with a clean kitchen towel. Allow the donuts to rise in a warm place for another 30 minutes or so, until they’ve puffed up.
Un-puffed donuts on the left; puffed and ready to fry, on the right!
7.) While the donuts finish their final rise, place a wide, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, and fill it with about 3″ of vegetable oil. Place a candy thermometer on the side of the pot, and allow the oil to slowly heat up to 350°. While the oil heats, fill a shallow bowl with granulated sugar. When the oil is up to temp, you’re ready to fry!
8.) Gently add the donuts to the pot, 2 or 3 at a time. Allow them to fry for about a minute per side, flipping them with a large wire spider/skimmer. Once they’re golden brown on both sides, use the spider to move them to a wire rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet so that the last bit of oil drains off. After they’ve dried for just a few seconds, place them in the granulated sugar, and toss to coat. Move them back to the wire rack once they’re coated in sugar.
9.) Continue frying in batches (keeping a close eye on the oil temp and adjusting as necessary) until all the donuts are fried (including the donut holes).
10.) Once the donuts are completely cool, load your vanilla custard into a piping bag or a large ziploc bag. Cut an opening at the bottom of the piping bag (or in the bottom corner of the ziploc bag) about 1/2″ wide.
11.) Use a small paring knife to create a hole in the side of each donut. Insert the end of the piping bag into the hole, and pipe a small amount of custard (until you feel a bit of resistance) into the donut.
Now, sit back, relax, and eat a dozen donuts! Honestly, if you can get away with eating less than that, I commend your willpower.
These donuts are definitely best served the same day they are made – that way, they maintain a slightly crisp exterior, and a light fluffy interior. Now, don’t get me wrong, they are still absolutely delicious on day 2, but the texture is less perfect, and the sugar will get a little melty. (For the record, I do not typically like filled donuts, so I only filled about half of them – and they were all equally delicious!)
These things are heaven, seriously. I can’t wait to make them again!
Homemade donuts: totally worth it.