Doughnuts: Baked or fried? I say fried! These creamsicle doughnuts with a hint of vanilla powder are filled to bursting with a delicate vanilla bean and orange zest infused filling. If you need a doughnut in your life, this one’s for you!
Do you know what I suck at? Frying. I do. I’m great at a lot of things. Frying, however, is a skill I have yet to master. I’m so bad that at this point I would settle for mediocre. I simply suck at placing food in bubbling oil. Churros are my nemesis. I can’t fry a churro to save my skin.
And fried chicken? Girl, please… I have never fried chicken. Ever in my life. It’s a disaster and third degree burn waiting to happen.
Then I noticed a severe lack of fried things on M.O.B. and decided it was time to change that situation.
These creamsicle doughnuts took several tries. When I say I suck at frying, I ain’t lyin’. Plus I’ve been sucking in the kitchen lately, thus forcing me to question my abilities. I tried Joy the Baker’s Bruleed Doughnut holes to super poor results. Several times. Not her fault, mine. I’m no fry cook, plus I still can’t be trusted with a blowtorch. I burn things.
The idea of crème brulee doughnuts, however, is still in my brains and must happen once I master the blowtorch.
Right now, creamsicle doughnuts.
*In my best Ned Stark voice* ‘summer is coming!’ (see what I did there?) And summer means you HAVE to creamsicle all the things.
Flow with me… We’re going to talk about these doughnuts.
Side bar: I also suck at photographing doughnuts. I wanted to get that sucky mcsuck suck statement out of the way.
These doughnuts begin with a vanilla and orange zest infused pastry cream. Pastry cream is just a fancy word for pudding. Basically you’re making pudding. Creamsicle flavored pudding. If you’ve never made pastry cream (or pudding) before, Brown Eyed Baker offers an excellent tutorial.
Now, doughnuts. A yeasted dough. The softest of soft doughs. I added vanilla powder to the dough. To help amp the vanilla flavor. If you haven’t heard or tasted the miracle that is vanilla powder, may I suggest you seek it out. I purchased mine at the Spice House.
Yeast does its thing, making dough rise and rise. The dough is then pressed down, rolled, and cut into rounds. You’re going to get about 10 good doughnuts out of this dough. Make doughnut holes with the leftover scraps. They’re just as delicious. My son ate 25 doughnut holes covered in confectioners’ sugar. Metabolism is wasted on the young.
The doughnuts are fried in hot, hot oil and then drained in paper towels. Once the doughnuts cool they are rolled and rolled in confectioners’ sugar. Finally the doughnuts are filled to bursting with the creamsicle pastry cream. They should be promptly bitten into. Bitten in such a way pastry cream oozes out and there’s confectioners’ sugar in your face, hands, whatever.
Yah… I see more fried things in my life.
- Yield: about 10, and about 25 doughnut holes
- For the pastry cream
- Half-and-half - 2 cups
- Zest of two oranges
- Vanilla bean paste - 1 tablespoon
- Granulated sugar - scant 3/4 cup
- Pinch salt
- Egg yolks - From 5 large eggs
- Cornstarch - 1/4 cup
- Cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces - 4 tablespoons (½ stick)
- For the yeast mixture
- Active dry yeast - 2 1/2 teaspoons
- Warm water (105–115°F) - 2 tablespoons
- Granulated sugar - 1 teaspoon
- For the doughnuts
- All-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough - 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups
- Granulated sugar - 1/4 cup
- Salt - 1 1/2 teaspoons
- Vanilla powder - 1/2 teaspoon
- Yeast mixture
- Whole milk, warmed to no more than 105° fahrenheit - 1 cup
- Unsalted butter, melted - 3/4 cup
- Egg yolks - from 3 large eggs
- Vegetable oil for deep frying - 8-10 cups
- Confectioners' sugar for rolling doughnuts - 2-4 cups
Make the pastry cream
In a small saucepan combine half and half, orange zest, and vanilla bean paste. Cover and allow to steep for at least an hour.
While the mixture is steeping, whisk egg yolks with the cornstarch in a medium bowl until the mixture is a pale yellow, about 10-15 seconds or so. Set aside.
Once mixture has steeped in the zest, add the sugar plus pinch of salt and bring to a full simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and gradually add the half-and-half mixture into the egg yolks, a bit at a time to temper the eggs whisking the entire time.
Return the mixture to the saucepan over medium heat and whisk the mixture the entire time until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture appears thickened and glossy. This can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Just keep whisking.
Remove from heat and immedialy add the butter and whisk until combined. Strain the pastry cream though a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl. Cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap (to prevent it from forming a skin) and bring to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator until cold, then transfer to a pastry bag with a round tip. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the doughnuts:
Stir together yeast, warm water, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir to dissolve yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine 3 1/4 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, and vanilla powder. Make a well in the center and add yeast mixture, milk, melted butter and egg yolks. Stir with a spatula until the mixture is moistened and a very wet dough forms. Begin to knead the dough with your hands inside the bowl, adding the additional 1/2 cup of flour 1 tablespoon at a time. You may not use the entire half cup of dough.
Continue kneading for about 8 minutes or so until the dough begins to pull a bit from the sides of the bowl. This is a soft dough, so it will remain soft of sticky to the touch.
Scrape the dough around the bowl and into the center and sprinkle lightly with flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a rolling pin into a rough 12-inch square that is AT LEAST 1/2 inch thick. Cut out as many doughnut rounds as possible with 2 inch biscuit or cookie cutter (I got about 10 good ones) and transfer doughnut rounds to a lightly floured baking sheet.
Cover doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise in place until slightly puffed, about 45 minutes. Grab a smaller cookie cutter and cut small rounds for doughnut holes. Do not reroll scraps. If needed, gather the scraps into a rough square and cut more doughnut holes. These doughnut holes do not have to be perfect. Cover the doughnut holes with a kitchen towel and allow to rise as well.
While the doughnut rounds and holes rise, prep your frying ingredients. Begin to heat your oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Line a large platter with paper towels to help absord oil from the doughnuts. Pour confectioner's sugar in a medium bowl to dip the doughnuts into once they have fried.
Heat 2 1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350°F on thermometer. You're going to need a thermometer unless you're good at eyeballing 350° fahrenheit. If you don't own a fry themometer, the oil will need to be hot as hell. Fry doughnuts, 2 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, 1 minute per side (2 minutes total per doughnut).
Transfer the doughnuts the paper lined platter and allow to cool before coating the doughnuts in confectioners' sugar. Return the oil to 350° between batches.
Fill the doughnuts
Remove pastry cream from the refrigerator. Grab a doughnut and with the pastry tip, poke a hole inside the doughnut, about an inch or so deep. Squeeze the pastry bag and fill doughnut until slightly puffed. Repeat with all doughnuts.
Doughnuts are best enjoy the day they're made. Next day they're kind of trash.
Doughnut recipe adapted from Joy the Baker
Pastry cream recipe adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker