Fact: Life is 1000% easier with doughnuts. Pillowy and light, these brioche doughnuts are the ultimate way to start your morning. The crème patissiere takes this beautiful dough to another level. Made with a dark salted caramel and balanced with a touch of sea salt, it is the best crème patissiere you will ever make – I always make some extra to snack on!
*This recipe makes 10-13 doughnuts (using a 2 inch cutter).
*Both, the brioche dough and crème patissiere should ideally be made the day before frying.
*The doughnuts are best consumed the same day. Refrigerating them might compromise the texture.
For the crème patissiere:
70 g granulated sugar
3 egg yolks
13 g cornstarch
1 vanilla bean
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
155 ml whole milk
70 ml heavy cream
The crème patissiere should ideally be made the day before. To start, add 3/4 of the sugar into a large saucepan and cook over medium heat. Do not stir and let the caramel turn deep amber colour.
Meanwhile, place the egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 1/4 sugar into a mixing bowl. Whisk for about 2-3 minutes or until pale and doubled in volume.
Next, add the milk and vanilla bean + seeds into a medium sized saucepan. Cook until the milk comes to a light simmer.
Once the caramel is done, add it to the simmering milk and whisk to combine. The mixture will bubble and coagulate. Keep whisking, it will eventually come together.
Add a little bit of the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is thick and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the sea salt. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl.
Cover the surface of the cream with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill completely, for at least 4 hours.
When you want to assemble the doughnuts, place the heavy cream into a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, whisk the cream until stiff peaks from. Add 1/3 of the cream into the chilled crème patissiere and fold together. Then add the remaining cream and fold together until smooth.
Transfer the crème patissiere into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Place the piping bag in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the doughnuts:
4 g instant yeast hydrated with 1/8 cup of warm water
75 g water
250 g flour
30 g caster sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
65 g softened unsalted butter, cubed
Mix the yeast with the warm water, and let the foam double in size.
To make the brioche dough, mix the flour, sugar, water, activated yeast, lemon zest, vanilla salt and eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until it’s all combined. Then turn up the speed to medium high and let it run for about 5 minutes, or until the dough starts coming away from the sides and forms a ball.
Slowly add the butter to the dough, a spoonful at a time. Once the butter is incorporated, mix on high speed for 5 minutes until the dough is glossy, smooth and very elastic when pulled.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to proof in the bowl until it has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Punch down the dough, cover it and place in the fridge overnight.
The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and roll into 1 inch thickness. Using a 2 inch round cutter, cut as many doughnuts as you can, Re-roll and cut using the scraps. Place on a floured baking tray, leaving plenty of room for them – so they don’t stick together while they proof. Cover lightly with a towel and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Fry the donuts! In a big cast iron pot, prepare the deep fryer; fill it up to the halfway point with the oil. Heat the oil to 350F, then carefully remove the doughnuts from the tray by sliding a floured pastry scraper or fish spatula underneath them, taking care not to deflate them, and put them into the oil. Don’t overcrowd the fryer – do two to three per batch, depending on the size of your pan.
300 ml vegetable oil
Castor sugar, for tossing
Place the oil into a large heavy-bottomed pan set over medium-low heat. I didn’t use a thermometer, but the oil should ideally be between 175-180 degrees.
While the oil comes to temperature, add castor sugar to a bowl and set aside. Line a baking tray with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
Once at temperature, fry the doughnuts. Don’t overcrowd the fryer – do two to three per batch, depending on the size of your pan. Place on paper towel and then coat in sugar while still warm.
Once done frying and coating, use a sharp knife to make a small hole into the sides of the doughnuts. Remove the crème patissiere from the refrigerator.
Pipe the cream into the doughnut hole, making sure that a bit of it oozes out the top of the doughnut. Sprinkle a bit of sea salt on top of the dollops.
The doughnuts are best when they’re still warm.