Vanilla Bean Custard Doughnuts
Vanilla Bean Custard Doughnuts are a great way to start the day. Find out how easy it is to make a fresh batch by scrolling down to the recipe below.
The Classic Doughnut
I thought we’d all be in agreement about what the “classic” doughnut looked like. To me it’s a plump, round, golden doughy ball, with sugar coated crust, filled to bursting with raspberry jam and initially, that’s what my twitter poll said too with 100% of voters in the first 5 days choosing raspberry jam over custard. But, it would seem there are an awful lot of custard doughnut lovers out there and almost as soon as I launched the twitter poll I had comments across social media telling me that nothing could beat a fresh vanilla custard doughnut. With just 2 days of the poll left #teamcustard started gaining ground…
Quick question for a new post – what’s the TRUE “classic” doughnut? Raspberry jam or custard? Feel free to share!
— SupperInTheSuburbs (@KitchenGoddess3) April 10, 2016
As I was making these doughnuts for my Dad’s birthday (I’m nice like that) I thought I’d run it by him. And whilst he too loves a raspberry jam doughnut, his all time favourite is custard!
If I’d have known before starting this post what a can of worms I would have opened just by asking what makes a true, classic doughnut I might have opted to just fill mine with Nutella instead! Nonetheless, I decided to make an extra large batch and fill half with jam and the other half with a fresh vanilla bean custard and today I’m sharing the recipe.
How do you make doughnuts? Baked or fried?
In recent years there’s been a bit of a craze for baked doughnuts. As we become increasingly conscious about our ever expanding waistlines deep fried doughnuts seemed to have fallen out of favour and baked doughnuts feature on blogs everywhere. (Mine included: Baked Cinnamon Doughnuts). But, if you want a traditional, classic doughnut you have to forget your Wilton pan and instead invest in a deep fat fryer. The only way to get that distinctive light fluffy dough and crisp sugary crust is to get frying! The clue is really in the (original) name; with the first doughnuts being called olykoeks meaning oil cakes.
I’d been a bit apprehensive at first about making deep fried doughnuts, not because they were unhealthy (I’m all for a bit of everything in moderation, including moderation), but because it involves heating oil to incredibly high heats. But trust me, if you want to start making fresh doughnuts at home you’re going to need invest in a deep fat fryer. And the first bite of a fresh, warm doughnut is enough to convert anyone to deep fat frying.
Once you’ve got your fryer you’ll next need a light and fluffy fool-proof doughnut dough. That’s where my recipe comes in! I’ve tried this recipe plenty of times and know that it works every time. As with most doughnut recipes its a mix of strong bread flour, yeast, sugar, eggs and butter. It’s a rich dough that can get quite sticky but creates beautifully light, cakey doughnuts.
How do you fill yours?
Once you’ve mastered the dough you really can fill them with anything. I’ve got grand plans for a zesty blueberry recipe (watch this space) as well as some over the top chocolate creations. The first batch of doughnuts we ever made we filled with a sticky, sweet salted caramel sauce. They were to die for.
Today we’re sticking with custard. I make a mean fresh custard and I figure if you’re going out of your way to make a batch of fresh doughnuts, you should only fill them with the most decadent, rich, freshest fillings possible. And so the Vanilla Bean Custard Doughnut was born.
To get the filling all the way through the doughnut you’ll want to invest in a bismark nozzle (like this one). You can fill doughnuts with a normal piping bag and nozzle but you’ll find it easier to get a good fill with a longer nozzle. No one wants to feel short changed on filling – especially with this delicious recipe!
Vanilla Bean Custard Doughnuts – The Recipe
- For the doughnut dough
- 75ml milk
- 7g quick yeast
- 250g plain flour
- 30g sugar
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Pinch of salt
- 60g butter (melted)
- 2 eggs
- For frying
- 3 litres vegetable oil
- For dusting
- 200g caster sugar
- For the custard filling
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp cornflour
- 15g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod (split lengthways and seeds removed)
- 125ml milk
- 125ml double cream
- Stage 1 - make the dough
- Heat the milk until warm to the touch and add the quick action yeast with a tsp of sugar.
- Whisk well and leave for 15 minutes until the yeast has activated and a froth has formed on top of the milk.
- Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and make a well in the middle. pour in the melted butter and eggs (beaten) followed by the activated yeast and milk.
- Stir together until a wet sticky dough has formed.
- Let this sticky dough rest for 10 minutes.
- Lightly oil your hands and work surface.
- Tip the dough out on to the work surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
- Transfer the dough into a new, lightly oiled bowl and let prove for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.
- Stage 2 - make the custard
- Put the egg yolk in a saucepan with the cornflour, sugar and seeds from the vanilla pod.
- Whisk them together lightly before turning on the heat to low.
- Slowly add the milk stirring constantly on a low heat.
- Cook like this for roughly 5-8 minutes or until it is smooth, thick and glossy.
- Remove the custard from the heat and allow to cool completely.
- Stage 3 - shape and fry the doughnuts
- Next, cut the dough into 10-12 balls just smaller than a tennis ball.
- Knead for a further 5 to 10 minutes and shape into circular disks.
- Place these on a lightly oiled plate and let rise again for a further 45 minutes or until doubled in size again.
- Heat your oil to 160C.
- Once the temperature has been reached, fry each doughnut for 2 minutes on each side until crisp and golden.
- Turn the doughnuts out on to kitchen roll to remove excess oil then roll in caster sugar and place to one side to cool down.
- Repeat until all of the doughnuts have been cooked and coated in sugar.
- Step 4 - fill the doughnuts
- Once the custard and doughnuts are both cool, fill an icing bag complete with bismark nozzle with the custard.
- Push the nozzle deep into the doughnuts and fill generously with custard.
- Serve immediately and eat within 2 - 3 days.
Always check your deep fat fryers instructions before starting. My deep fat fryer needs a minimum of 3 litres of oil before safe to use. Some makes and models may require more or less.
My fryer can cook 4 doughnuts at a time, again check your manual to make sure you don't overcrowd your fryer.
I know it sounds like A LOT of oil but it doesn’t get used up in the cooking process at all. In fact, you can re-use the oil over and over again. I think after 5 times it’s recommended you change it but up until that point it’s still perfectly safe and edible.
This recipe also makes A LOT of doughnuts. You can easily reduce it down to make just 5 doughnuts which I have done on many an occasion. It still works just as well!
Unfortunately doughnuts don’t keep as well as some other treats and they are best served fresh. They will still be tasty after 2 or 3 days but with the fresh custard I wouldn’t recommend eating them much past this. (Not that I expect them to last that long anyway! How could you resist!)
More deep fried delights
If these tasty treats weren’t enough to satisfy you then why not try one of these fried delicacies from some of my favourite bloggers.
- Faworki / Chruściki (also known as Angel Wings) from Coffee and Vanilla
- Heart shaped churros from Supergolden Bakes
- Pączki Wiedeńskie (also known as Vienna Doughnuts) from Coffee and Vanilla
- Cronuts from Supergolden Bakes
Not yet invested in a deep fat fryer? Try one of these shallow fried snacks in the meantime:
Have I convinced you that it’s worth deep fat frying? Let me know in the comments below!