Whoever invented doughnuts, it’s fair to say, is a genius. The truth is that we will probably never know the identity of this pioneer. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to honour their memory frequently, by frying up a batch.
And I’d like you to meet the one and only yeast donut I’m ever going to make again.
On this particular occasion I chose to stuff these puppies with a decadent pastry cream, swirled with smooth blackberry jam. Swoon.
As decadent as that filling sounds (and is) it’s the actual donut itself that is the revelation here.
These are the lightest, most feathery-textured pillows of dough that I have ever had the pleasure of eating. No purchased donut could possibly compare to these. They are like eating yeasty, lemon-scented clouds.
The secret, I think, is using water as the main source of liquid in the dough. I know that seems counter intuitive, you’d think that more fat would make for a softer dough. But when the doughnuts hit the hot oil, the water turns to steam, causing the donuts to puff up and become ethereally light.
The jam and custard filling is decadent. Blackberries are one of my favourite fruits, and their sweet-tart flavour pairs perfectly with the rich vanilla custard and lemony donuts.
In such small quantities pastry cream is super easy to make, definitely nothing to be intimidated by, but you could easily just use plain jam. Or Nutella. Or any fruit compote. What I’m saying is, there’s no bad way to eat these.
It’s nearly the weekend everyone. Let’s make donuts. Let’s eat donuts. Let’s throw caution to the wind, and jam into the custard. Let’s make a godawful mess.
Shit, we’re grown ups – if we can’t make donuts now when can we!? Let’s live a little!
- 1 + ⅔ cups (250g) plain flour
- 2 tbsp (30g) caster sugar, plus ½ cup (110g) extra for coating
- 1 tsp (5g) salt
- 2 tsp (10g) dried yeast
- 2 eggs
- zest of half a lemon
- ¼ cup + 2 tsps (75ml) warm water
- 4 + ½ tbsp (65g) butter, softened
- oil for frying (I used canola)
- ½ cup cream
- ¼ cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 2 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch if you're in the US)
- ¼ cup smooth blackberry jam
- First, place all the ingredients for the donuts, except the butter, into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Work on a low speed for about 4 minutes, or until well combined and elastic.
- With the mixer still running, add the butter piece by piece, until it is all worked in and incorporated. There should be no visible pieces. This will take about 5-8 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover with plastic, and set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in size.
- While the dough is rising, make the filling. Place the cream, milk and vanilla into a small saucepan, and place over a medium heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, caster sugar, and cornflour. When the milk begins to bubble around the edges, remove it from the heat, and slowly whisk it into the egg mixture.
- Pour the mixture back into the pan, and place over a medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook until the mixture boils and becomes very thick - about 3 minutes. Once the mixture is the consistency of soft butter, scrape it out into a bowl, cover and set aside to cool completely.
- When the dough has risen, punch it down, and scrape it out onto a well-floured surface, pat the dough into a rectangle, about ½ inch (just over 1cm) thick, and cut out 9 donuts using a 2.5inch (5cm) round cutter. Place the dougnuts on a lined baking sheet, cover with plastic again, and set aside to rise for another 45 minutes, or until puffy.
- When the donuts are finished their second rise, place about 2 inches of oil into a high-sided pan (or use a deep fryer), heat the oil over a low flame, until it reaches 170C. Alternatively, place a small piece of dough in the oil, and when it bubbles and rises to the surface, the oil should be the right temperature.
- Fry the donuts a few at a time (don't crowd the pan) for about 1 minute each side or until they are golden brown and cooked through.
- Drain the donuts on paper towels, and when they are all fried, toss them in the extra caster sugar.
- To fill the donuts, ripple the cooled pastry cream with the blackberry jam, and then place the mixture into a piping bag fitted with a ¼ inch (1/2 cm) nozzle. Press the piping bag into the side of each donut, and squeeze until you can feel the weight of the donut increase slightly. Continue until all the donuts are filled, and then cram one in your face immediately!