For the past couple weeks I have been experimenting with doughnuts. I have tried a few doughnut places around the city, and this time, I decided to try my own. My first attempt happened last Monday. I found a great recipe on The Vanilla Bean Blog, tweaked it a little, and went to town. I had spent all Sunday night preparing the dough and the pastry cream so it could chill overnight and I could fry them in the morning and bring them to the magic group. Well, I got as far as frying the doughnuts and it was a disaster. If you follow me on twitter, you probably saw a few tweets about the catastrophe… I was pretty salty about the whole experience. Basically, the outsides were beautifully golden and the insides didn’t cook at all. They were lightly fried balls of dough, not quite a doughnut. However, I was determined to make these work. I went back to my parents on Wednesday, and started the process all over again. This time though, I had delicious doughnuts to enjoy afterwards.
The recipe I used for the dough came from BreadIn5. This easy-to-make brioche dough is perfect for any number of things. I get the vibe that making dough or bread is a little intimidating for a lot of people, but this could not be made simpler, and the flavor is great. I do recommend that when using this recipe, make sure all of your ingredients are room temperature when mixing them. During the 2 hour rising period after the flour is mixed in, the dough will rise almost twice what it would if your eggs and butter are too cold. It happened to me the first time I tried it out, which I think was part of the problem.
Now, on Sarah’s blog she says to roll the dough out on a floured surface until it is about 1/4 inch thick, and cut out pieces with a 2 inch cookie cutter. In my effort to save time and prevent a mess in a small apartment, I decided to take pieces of the dough, flatten them with my hands, and then use a cookie cutter. Wrong, bad, no, listen to Sarah, she knows better. Rolling this dough and using the cookie cutter is a must in my experience. This was fault number two that made the first try go awry.
This is where it gets fun. The original cream recipe came from Zoe Bakes, but I changed it a little to make a boozy, fall custard.
Apple Brandy Pastry Cream:
2 Cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Pinch of Salt
1/2 of a vanilla bean
2 cinnamon sticks
1/8 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 cup apple brandy
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 egg and 3 egg yolks
Begin by mixing the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, salt, vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, and brandy in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat.
In another bowl, whisk the cornstarch and 1/4 cup sugar together. Then add the egg and yolks to the bowl and whisk together until it makes a smooth paste. Now, begin adding a little bit of the hot milk to the egg mixture at a time until the eggs are warm to the touch. This is called tempering the eggs and will prevent them from curdling when added to the hot milk.
Pour the eggs into the pan with the milk, and bring to a boil whisking continuously for 2 -3 minutes. This will break up any clumps of cornstarch left in the mixture. Your custard will thicken almost immediately and will be done once it is nice and smooth.
Press the cream through a strainer into a shallow container. Cover with plastic wrap pressed up against the surface of the cream so that a film does not form. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes so that the eggs cool quickly. Remove from freezer and place in refrigerator to cool overnight.
The glaze is very simple. Follow this recipe from Alton Brown, however, I did not use the corn syrup, and at the end, I splashed in a tablespoon of pistachio liqueur to give it a little boozy kick. Once the dough has been fried and then filled, you can gently dip the tops into the glaze and let rest for 30 minutes.
Well, there you have it, it is definitely an adventure to make these, but I promise they are worth it. Here is a condensed version of everything that I did:
Brioche Doughnuts with Apple Brandy Cream and Pistachio Chocolate Glaze:
Roll the dough out into 1/4 inch sheet and cut out pieces with a 2 inch cookie cutter. Place the dough on lined sheet pans and let sit for 15 – 20 minutes while you heat the oil in a heavy sauce pan. Use enough oil to to fill the pan 2 – 3 inches up the sides. Using a cooking thermometer, heat the oil until it is around 360 degrees. Doing between 3 – 5 at a time, place the dough in the oil and fry for 2 – 3 minutes on one side, then flip and fry for another minute. They should be nice and golden brown all over. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. Continue this process until all the dough has been fried.
Once cooled, poke holes in the fried dough, and using a pastry bag, fill with 1- 2 tablespoons of pastry cream. Once done, dip in the glaze and let sit for 30 minutes until glaze is dry.
If you use or share the pastry cream recipe on the interwebs, it is very much appreciated if you link back to my site, please and thank you!