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Brioche Doughnuts with Tahini Chocolate Pastry Cream and Halva


Brioche Doughnuts with Tahini Chocolate Pastry Cream and Halva



Tahini Chocolate Pastry Cream

  • 650g Whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste, or the scrapings of one vanilla bean
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 70g corn starch
  • 110g granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs plus one yolk
  • 60g unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into cubes
  • 80g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 150g tahini

Brioche Doughnuts

  • 1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, lukewarm
  • 4 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 ¾ cups (565g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 100g Sugar plus 1 Tbsp cocoa, for rolling
  • Neutral oil, for frying
  • About 150g halva, for finishing (optional)



  1. In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla bean paste and salt. Heat over medium low until bubbles begin to form around the outside of the milk, and it is just shy of a simmer. 
  2. While the milk is heating, whisk together the corn starch and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the eggs and yolk, and whisk well until pale. 
  3. Once the milk has heated, remove from the heat and pour half into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Mix until well combined. Transfer back into the milk saucepan, and place over a low to medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream is very thick, approximately 8-10 minutes. 
  4. Set up a sieve over a clean bowl. Once the pastry cream is thick, pass through the sieve into the bowl. Stir in the butter and chocolate, and mix until well incorporated. Add the tahini, and mix to combine. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream, and refrigerate until completely chilled. If you need to speed this process up, line a sheet pan or shallow tray with plastic wrap and spread the pastry cream over it to speed up the chilling process.


  1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth.
  3. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth.
  4. Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 ½ hours.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Weigh, and divide into 12 equal weight portions. Roll each portion into a tight ball. Place the rolled doughnuts on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  6. Leave the doughnuts to proof for a further 20 minutes. When you poke them lightly with your finger, it should leave a small indentation that springs back.
  7. While the doughnuts are proofing, heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron works great). Heat the oil to 165˚c / 330˚f. Combine the sugar and cocoa powder, and place in a shallow bowl for tossing the doughnuts.
  8. Once the oil has come to temperature, test it with a few scraps of dough. Gently lower the doughnuts, two at a time, into the hot oil. Cook for 2 ½ to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 30 seconds before tossing in the sugar. Repeat the process with the rest of the doughnuts. Once the doughnuts are cool, poke a hole in them using a chopstick, and widen the hole using your finger.


  1. Transfer the pastry cream to a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip. Fill each doughnut with pastry cream - you will feel it become heavier in your hand. Pipe a little blob on top of each doughnut, and top with a chunk of halva.
  2. Best, served on the day that they are made.


Pastry Cream adapted from The Cook and Baker