Light and fluffy donut dough filled with creamy vanilla custard rolled in sugar and torched to crunchy caramelized perfection. These creme brulee donuts are too good to be true.
What are the main types of donuts?
There are two distinct types of donuts; yeast-raised donuts and cake donuts. Yeast-raised donuts are generally a lot lighter and fluffier and have a bread-like consistency. Think Krispy Kreme donuts!
The other kind of donuts is much denser, sweeter, and richer in flavor. Like their name, the consistency is a lot like a cake, with a moist crumb.
Both donuts are equally as delicious but have their own place. When making filled donuts yeast raised donuts are usually better as the dough itself has less flavor. This allows the filling of the donuts to be heroed.
What is crème brulee?
Crème brûlée is a traditional French dessert consisting of two major parts; a rich custard and a crunchy caramelized sugar top. It's a classic dessert that has a little bit of everything, from a creamy base and sweet caramel to crunchy sugar.
This donut takes all the highlights of this classic dessert and creates a fraken-dessert that is even better. How can fluffy fried dough filled with creamy custard go wrong right?!
Why did my custard curdle?
There are a couple of reasons why the pastry cream is curdled. Keep these tips in mind when making custard.
Heat the milk until steaming
When heating the milk don't heat it to a rapid boil. If the milk is too hot when added to the egg yolk mixture it runs the risk of scrambling the mixture and making it curdle.
The hot milk should be just steaming when you take it off the heat.
When you return the custard mixture to the heat make sure you whisk continuously. This prevents any bits of custard from catching on the bottom of the pan and curdling or burning.
Heat over low heat
When you are whisking the custard over the heat make sure you use low heat as this will ensure that the custard thickens up slowly and evenly. If the heat is too high it can cause parts of the custard to cook faster than others.
Give it a whisk before filling your pastry bag
After the custard has chilled it will gelatinise. This is because the custard is thickened with starch. In order to return the pastry cream to it's former silky smooth glory give it a good whisk before filling your pastry bag fitted with a piping tip.
Tips for frying donuts
Fying donuts can seem intimidating when doing it at home, but it's actually a lot easier than you think!
Here are a couple of tips for upping your donut frying game.
Use a large pot
You want to make sure you use a large heavy bottomed pot when frying your donuts. The donuts will expand as they fry, and they can be difficult to flip if the pot isn't big enough. Keep all these factors in mind when choosing your pot to fry them in.
Use a thermometer
One of the most important things when frying is keeping an eye on the temperature. If the oil temperature gets too high the donut will get golden too quickly, and the inside will still be raw.
On the other hand, if the oil temperature is too low the donut won't fry quick enough and will begin to absorb more oil. This results in a very greasy donut.
The ideal temperature is around 170C/340F, but it's ok if it goes up or down a little.
If you don't have an oven thermometer you can check the temperature by dropping a piece of white bread in the oil. If it lightly bubbles and slowly turns golden brown the oil is at the perfect temperature.
Fry in batches
A similar concept to the large pot, make sure there is enough space in between the donuts when frying.
I wouldn't recommend frying more than 3 donuts at the same time because not only does the pot get overcrowded, it causes the oil temperature to drop.
Drain the donuts
Once the donuts have fried make sure you have a station set up to drain the hot oil from your donuts. This could be a plate lined with paper towels or a wire rack, both work perfectly!
Draining donuts is very important, otherwise, they will turn out overly greasy. Simply remove the donuts with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain for light, crispy perfection.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do these last?
These are best the day they are made as the donut dough will still be fluffy and the caramel will still be crunchy.
However, they will last up to 2 days after they are made when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. I would recommend heating these up before eating them for the optimal texture
How can I reheat these?
An airfryer or toaster oven is perfect for this as it brings back some of the crispiness on the exterior while slowly warming the dough back to its fluffiness.
If you don't have either of those, or you're just feeling lazy, even a quick zap in the microwave will bring them back to a fluffy texture.
How can I caramelize the sugar without a blowtorch?
If you don't have a blowtorch I recommend caramelizing the sugar on the donuts under a broiler before filling them.
All you need to do is roll the unfilled donuts in the sugar syrup and sugar and place them, sugar side up, under the broiler on high heat. Keep a close eye on the donuts as they will burn easily!
Once they have caramelized take them out and let the sugar set to a crunchy caramel before filling with the custard. I recommend filling afterward as the broiler might melt the custard.
Let's Get Cooking!
Creme brulee and donuts are a match made in heaven, and if you don't give it a try you're missing out... Give them a taste and you'll know what I mean!
If you liked this recipe make sure to leave me a comment and rating down below, I would love to know how you went. Also don't forget to tag me on instagram @catherine.desserts and hashtag #cattycakes so I can see and share your desserts.Print
Creme Brulee Donuts
Light and fluffy donut dough filled with creamy vanilla custard, rolled in sugar and torched to crunchy caramelized perfection. These creme brulee donuts are too good to be true.
- Prep Time: 60 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 6 Donuts 1x
- Category: Donut
- Method: Intermediate
- Cuisine: Fusion
- 212g Bread flour (1 ⅔ cup)
- 4g Instant yeast (1 tsp)
- 25g White sugar (2 tbsp)
- 60ml Milk, lukewarm (¼ cup)
- 60ml Water, lukewarm (¼ cup)
- 25g Unsalted butter, softened (5 tsp)
- Pinch of salt
- Neutral oil, for frying
- 2 Egg yolks
- 37g Granulated sugar (3 tbsp)
- 1 ½ tbsp Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 180ml Whole milk (¾ cup)
- 15g Unsalted butter ( 1 tbsp)
- 60ml Water (¼ cup)
- 100g Granulated sugar (½ cup)
- Approx ½ cup granulated sugar, for rolling
- Combine flour, yeast, sugar, water, milk, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
- Combine the ingredients on low speed, before increasing the speed to medium-high and kneading for 5 minutes, or until smooth
- Add the butter and continue to beat for 10 minutes
- When the dough is smooth and elastic it's ready
- Transfer the dough to your counter-top, dust lightly with flour, and shape into a ball
- Place the dough back in a large oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap
- Place the covered bowl in a warm area for 1-2 hours, or until the dough has doubled in size
- Dust your worksurface with flour and remove dough from the bowl
- Release built-up air by flattening the ball and divide it into 6 even portions
- Roll each portion into a ball and place it on an oven tray lined with baking paper
- Cover with cling wrap and let it proof for 30 minutes, or until almost doubled in size
- Heat a heavy bottomed pot of oil to 170C/340F
- Cut the baking paper that the donuts are sitting on so that each donut is on it's own square of baking paper
- Carefully pick the donuts up by the corners of the baking paper and place them in the pot of oil, 3 at a time
- Fry for 2 mins on each side, or until golden brown, then drain on a wire rack or paper towel
- Repeat with the remaining donuts
- Cool completely
- While the dough is proofing make the custard
- Combine the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a large heatproof bowl and whisk to combine
- Combine the milk and vanilla extract in a small saucepan over medium heat and heat until steaming
- Remove from the heat and pour into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly until smooth
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat over medium-low, whisking constantly until thickened
- The mixture should be thick enough to draw lines in it
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter, stir until melted
- Transfer the custard to a bowl and cover with cling wrap, pressing the cling wrap onto the surface of the custard to prevent it from forming a skin
- Place in the fridge to cool completely
- Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar has melted and slightly thickened
- Transfer to a small bowl big enough to dip the donuts in
- Transfer the custard into a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized round tip
- Poke a hole on the side of each donut with a skewer or chopstick, ensuring not to pierce the whole way through
- Insert the tip of the piping bag into the hole and fill each donut with custard
- Place the sugar on a small plate
- Dip one side of the filled donuts into the sugar syrup, then press it, sugar syrup side down, into the sugar
- Place the donut sugared side up on a heat-proof plate or wire rack
- Repeat with the remaining donuts
- Using a blow torch caramelize the sugar to create a 'creme brulee' finish
Keywords: Donut, doughnut, creme brulee, caramel, custard, creme patissiere