My summer is off to a crazy start and after vacation it has taken me a week or so to get back into the groove of blogging again. Nonetheless, I wanted to take on the time consuming task of making the best creme brulee donuts. Most of the work in is the non-active prep time, but do plan ahead when making them.
A fried, soft, light pillowy sweet donut filled with rich vanilla custard and topped with a crunchy caramel topping. It is what my breakfast dreams are made of.
I am super exhausted with the hustle and bustle of having three kids, but I wanted to challenge myself with this recipe. I am a huge fan of Creme Brulee and most always get this dessert when fine dining, but I strayed away from the traditional side of things and went with donuts.
These Creme Brulee donuts are so soft and easy to make. However, caramelizing the sugar topping took some time. But the end result was amazing!
- All-purpose flour
- Active dry yeast
- Granulated sugar
- Lemon zest
- Vanilla extract
- Confectioner's sugar
Making the dough
Making the dough is the first step and should be done a day in advance to let it rest in fridge.
- In the mixing bowl combine the warm water and yeast. Let it proof for 10 minutes. It should be foamy and frothy. If not, the water may have been too warm and killed off yeast. Just start over.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and lemon zest. Add the dry ingredients into the yeast mixture.
- Start mixing the dough on low speed, add the eggs one by one and knead with dough hook until combined (about 5 mins, dough will be sticky).
- Slowly add in the room temperature butter until all incorporated. Mix for an additional 10 minutes or until dough ball is smooth. Place dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put in fridge overnight.
- Remove dough from fridge the next day and divide into 12 equal portions. Shape into a bun and transfer to baking sheet with silicon mat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, draft free area to double in size (2 hours).
- Place oil in a pan (enough so dough will float and not touch bottom during frying). Let temperature of oil reach 350 degrees. Transfer 2-3 donuts into oil and fry for 1-2 minutes on each side (should be golden brown).
- Remove with a slotted spoon on to a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Allow donuts to cool.
Vanilla custard filling
- In a medium saucepan, bring milk to a boil over medium heat. Set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together until thick.
- While whisking the egg yolks, slowly temper them with a ¼ cup of hot milk. Then slowly add the egg yolk mixture into the boiled milk.
- Put saucepan over medium heat, bring mixture to a boil while continuing to whisk. After 2-3 minutes the mixture should start to thicken. Once thickened, transfer mixture into another bowl. Add in the butter and vanilla extract.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled transfer to a pastry bag with round tip.
- Using a sharp paring knife, cut a small hole on the side of each of the donuts. Insert the pastry tip inside of the hole and fill with vanilla custard.
Making the glaze
- Mix the confectioner's sugar with water and vanilla extract.
- Dip each donut top into the glaze and set on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lightly sprinkle sugar on top of each donut with glaze.
- Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the tops of each donut until golden brown. Serve and enjoy!
What is the best oil to fry donuts with?
I have fried a lot of pastries and desserts in my day and there are several oils that work best when doing so. You want to stick with an oil that has a low flavor and a high smoke point. Nevertheless, the oils listed below are best for frying.
- Vegetable oil
- Sunflower oil
- Peanut oil
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Safflower oil
Tips and tricks
- Please attach or keep a thermometer attached or by frying pan to check temperature of oil. It should be 350 degrees before frying. Be sure to put enough oil in pan so donuts float during frying process and not touching the bottom.
- Only fry 2-3 donuts at a time because they fry up quickly. Don't overcrowd pan.
- Remove donuts with a slotted spoon onto a baking sheet with paper towel to cool down. Fill only after they cool down.
Variations and substitutions
- These donuts can be baked as well.
- Make a mini version of these donuts using this pan.
- Try a different custard filling flavor.
Donuts are best eaten within 1-2 days. However, they can be stored in an airtight container or ziplock bag and put in fridge. Do not freeze as the custard will separate and give your a weird texture when thawing out.
Creme Brûlée Donuts
- Stand mixer fitted with hook attachment
- Mixing bowls
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Large saucepan
- Large high side skillet or deep fryer
- Piping bag fitted with 1 inch round tip
- Kitchen torch
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- 3 cups all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoon
- ⅔ cup water warm
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- lemon zest ½ of lemon
- pinch of salt
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup unsalted butter room temperature
- oil for frying
Vanilla custard filling
- 2¼ cup milk
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon unsalted butter room temperature
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar
- 2 tablespoon water
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ cup granulated sugar
- Prepare the donut dough 1 day in advance. Combine active dry yeast and ⅔ cup of warm water in mixing bowl of stand mixer. Let it stand for 1 minutes to proof.
- In another large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, lemon zest, and pinch of salt. After yeast has sit for 10 minutes, add the dry mixture to the yeast.
- Turn the stand mixer fitted with a dough hook on low. Gradually add in the 4 eggs and mix for 5 minutes (dough will be sticky). Then, slowly add in the butter and once it is all combined, mix for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth.
- Add the smooth ball of dough to a greased bowl, cover, and put in fridge overnight. The next day, remove the dough from fridge and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions. Shape dough into little buns and place on a parchment sheet. Lightly pat each bun. Cover the buns on the tray and move to a warmer place to double in size (up to 2 hours).
- Once they have doubled in size, the donuts are ready to be fried. Heat up oil in high sided skillet. Make sure donuts are floating and not touching bottom of skillet. Once the oil is ready, put 2-3 donuts in at a time. Fry for 2 minutes on each side. Remove donuts with slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate. Let cool completely.
Vanilla cream filling
- In a large saucepan, bring milk to a boil over medium heat and then set aside.
- In another bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar until thick. Slowly whisk milk into the egg mixture (going to fast with tempering can result in scrambled eggs).
- Once all the milk has been added, put the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Continue to whisk until mixture has thickened (2-3 minutes).
- Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract. Cover the pan with plastic wrap on top and sides of custard so a skin doesn't form. Let cool to room temperature.
- Transfer cooled vanilla custard into piping bag with round tip. With a paring knife, cut small holes on one side of cooled donut. Insert piping tip into hole and pipe cream in.
- Mix the confectioner's sugar, water, and vanilla extract together. Dip the tops of each donut into the glaze and lay down on baking sheet.
- Lightly sprinkle sugar on top and with a kitchen torch, caramelize the top until golden brown. Serve and enjoy!
Desserts with filling
Fun fact of the day!
PEZ candy comes in a coffee flavor!