Hi hi and happy Saturday! I am just popping in here to share this wee recipe with you! I got a deep fryer maybe a few months ago and went on a quest to fry literally everything in sight. It’s great for making all kinds of things, but especially great for mini doughnuts. I made these brioche cinnamon ones a while back and they seemed to be a huge hit, so I figured it was time to try my hand at mini filled doughnuts!
I took my go to brioche dough, and turned it into these super cute wee doughnuts, which I rolled in a bunch of different flavoured sugars. I filled these guys with a vanilla bean pastry cream, which I made a big batch of and split into four, and flavoured it with something a wee bit new and exciting - Heilala Vanilla’s new infused Vanilla extracts! If you’ve been round here for a while you know what a massive massive fan I am of Heilala and their products - not only is it the most amazing vanilla in which they control production from growth to product, but it is run by the most amazing people who are making such a huge effort to give back to the kingdom of Tonga where their first vanilla orchids were planted. Heilala started a kickstarter to fund their new line of extracts a few weeks back, and there is just one week to go, so if you can, pop on over and pledge - you are going to want to get your hands on some of this amazing extract, as it is a total game changer. I’m so excited to play around with it a little more!
For these dougnuts, I divided the filling once it was made, and stirred through some of Heilala’s infused extracts. I ended up going with four flavours - the cocoa extract, the coffee extract, the oak aged vanilla extract, and the pumpkin spice extract. I also made up some flavoured sugars to correspond with the filling flavour. I had a little of the oak aged vanilla extract left over so also had a little play with making a strawberry sugar using some freeze dried strawberry powder, and it was so, so so good with the vanilla filling! I finished each off with a tiny garnish - a sprinkle of the flavour of the sugar, just to help tell which was which. The flavoured pastry cream was so unique and delicious, I honestly don’t think that I can decide which one was my favourite. The infused extracts are such an easy way to add a huge depth of flavour to whatever you are making.
These doughnuts would be so perfect for something like a children’s party or event - because they are mini it gives everyone the opportunity to try all of the different flavours. They would also make amazing larger doughnuts - to do this I would follow these shaping and frying instructions.
A few wee tips:
Chilled dough is easiest to work with and cut out, so I recommend giving these an overnight rise in the fridge if you can. Alternatively you could roll it out, place it on a sheet pan (you may need to divide it in two), cover with plastic wrap, and pop in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to help firm up
I like to make both the brioche dough and the pastry cream the night before to give them time to cool.
I divided up the pastry cream after making it and then flavoured it individually. You can definitely only do one type if you want - I would go with the oak aged vanilla, as it pairs perfectly with literally anything.
I also made a whole bunch of different flavoured sugars to roll the doughnuts in! You can make these any flavour that you like - basically you just add flavour powder in whatever form (coffee, spices, freeze dried fruit powder etc) to sugar and then use that to roll the doughnuts in.
Mini Pastry Cream Filled Brioche Doughnuts
- Makes about 45 doughnuts -
Pastry cream adapted from Bouchon bakery
1 envelope (2 ¼ tsp) active dry yeast
250g (1 cup) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp (50g) sugar
565g (3 ¾ cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp Heilala vanilla bean paste
90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Neutral oil for frying
Vanilla Pastry Cream
132g egg yolks (about 8 yolks)
37g corn starch
1 tsp Heilala vanilla bean paste
550g whole milk
27g unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ tsp Heilala Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Vanilla Extract
¾ tsp Heilala Vanilla Oak Aged Vanilla Extract
¾ tsp Heilala Vanilla Coffee Vanilla Extract
¾ tsp Heilala Vanilla Cocoa Vanilla Extract
500g Sugar, divided into 100g portions
For Vanilla Sugar: add ½ tsp vanilla bean powder to 100g sugar
For Coffee Sugar: add ½ tsp espresso powder to 100g sugar
For Strawberry Sugar: add ½ tsp Freeze Dried strawberry powder to 100g sugar
For Pumpkin Spice Sugar: add ½ tsp pumpkin spice to 100g sugar
For Cocoa sugar: add ½ tsp cocoa to 100g sugar
- PROCESS -
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.
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.
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.
Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place overnight in the fridge to rise (see notes).
In a large bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar and cornflour in a bowl.
In a medium pot, warm the milk and vanilla paste until there is movement just around the edges of the milk - do not bring it to the boil.
Remove the milk from the heat, and, whisking constantly, add half of the milk mixture into the egg and cornflour mixture to temper the egg yolks. Whisk briskly for 30 seconds. Transfer the milk-yolk mixture back to the pot, and return to a medium heat. Whisk constantly until very thick.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, mixing well until totally combined. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes, whisking occasionally.
Weigh the pastry cream and divide into four if flavouring. Add ¾ tsp each flavour of Heilala infused vanilla extract to each portion of pastry cream. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of each portion of pastry cream and place in the fridge to cool completely.
FRYING AND ASSEMBLY
Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Roll until it is ½” thickness.
Using a 1 ¾” round cutter, cut out circles of dough. Repeat until you have cut out all of the dough - scraps can be pressed together and re-rolled. I like to use the scrap ones for the first test fry, as they sometimes turn out a little wonky.
Lightly cover the cut-out doughnuts with plastic wrap, and leave to rise for 45-50 minutes, until puffy. When you poke them lightly with your finger, it should leave a small indentation that springs back.
In the last 15-20 minutes of the doughnuts proofing, heat neutral oil to 350°f / 180°c in a large heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron works great). Place a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Mix up the flavoured sugars, if using.
Once the oil has come to temperature, test it with a few scraps of dough, or your doughnuts you cut from the re-rolled dough. Gently lower the doughnuts, up to six at a time (depending on the size of your pot), into the hot oil. Cook , flipping every 30 seconds, for 3-4 minutes, 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.
Allow the doughnuts to cool completely, then, using a chopstick or paring knife, cut a hole in each doughnut. Transfer the pastry cream to piping bags either with the end snipped off or fitted with a round piping tip.
Fill each doughnut with pastry cream (correspond the pastry cream flavour to the tossed sugar flavour if you are using different flavours of pastry cream), piping a small blob on the top of each. Sprinkle with a corresponding garnish (I used valrhona crispy pearls, pumpkin spice, espresso powder, a little piece of vanilla bean, and a sprinkle of freeze-dried strawberry powder on the strawberry vanilla ones.
Best eaten on the day that they are made.
Thank you so much to Heilala Vanilla for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.