How is it already August?!? Don’t get me wrong - August is my fave (I’m an August baby so it’s birthday month!), but holy moly this year has just sped past. Next week I am going on a little road trip up to Hudson for a few days which I am super excited about, and then we have a wedding in Philadelpia, and then I get to go to ALASKA with Bake from Scratch for a few days, and then, before I know it, August will be over!
I’ve been sitting on this one for a while, and decided I couldn’t possibly wait any longer to share it with you - that I had to share it while strawberries are still in their prime here in the states! Roasting up fruit is one of my favourite ways to use up that box of berries / fruit you may have in your fridge that is nearly past it’s prime - the giant flat of berries you bought with good intentions for, and haven’t quite managed to use up, or that big box of peaches you are working your way through but it’s taking forever. Just me? Surely not.
The recipe for these came about as we were planning on leaving for our holiday to Canada, and I had a giant box of strawberries to use up, so I roasted them off, and paired them with a vanilla bean pastry cream (classic but great combo). I then stuffed both of these things into a fluffy brioche doughnut, which I made with my go-to brioche recipe (best ever), which I tossed in a sugar and freeze dried strawberry mixture, which gave them the prettiest pink hue, and helped to drive the flavour home. Roasted fruit and pastry cream in a doughnut is a sure fire winner - the great and easy thing about it is that it is super adaptable, this recipe would work with almost any roasted fruit, or you can leave it out entirely and just go for a plain custard / pastry cream filled doughnut. You really can’t lose.
A few wee tips:
I rolled these in a strawberry sugar which I made with freeze dried strawberry powder and sugar. If you don’t have freeze dried strawberry powder on hand, regular sugar is fine!
I made the brioche dough the night before, and did the first rise overnight in the fridge, which makes the process feel a little less involved. Alternatively you can make the dough the day of and do both rises in one day.
Either a thermometer or a deep fryer is needed for the frying process - I got a deep fryer recently and it is great, but if you are just frying in a pot, I like to use cast iron as it holds the heat nicely and helps keep the oil at a consistent temperature.
The strawberries are super, super delicious and are great for using up nearly past it fruit - the recipe can be easily doubled and the mixture kept in the fridge.
If strawberries aren’t in season, you can likely roast frozen strawberries! It will help to bring out the flavour a lot - I would thaw them first. Alternatively, a strawberry jam as a filling would work great too.
Roasted Strawberry Brioche Doughnuts with Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
- Makes about 12 -
Pastry cream adapted from Bouchon bakery
Roasted Strawberry Filling
600g fresh strawberries, diced
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
pinch of salt
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
132g egg yolks (about 8 yolks)
37g corn starch
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
550g whole milk
27g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
250g (1 cup) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp (50g) sugar
565g (3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Neutral Oil for Frying
1 Tbsp freeze dried strawberry powder (I used this one)
- PROCESS -
Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Line a sheet pan with tin foil. In a medium bowl, toss together the strawberries, sugar, vanilla bean paste, and salt. Spread onto the sheet pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the fruit and juices are bubbling. Transfer to an airtight container and chill until ready to use.
VANILLA BEAN PASTRY CREAM
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. Transfer to an airtight container and allow to cool completely.
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 in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Alternatively the first rise can be done overnight in the fridge.
Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Weigh the dough, and divide into 12 equal weight portions. Roll each portion into a tight ball. Place the rolled doughnuts on a baking tray sheet with parchment paper, leaving adequate space between (you may need two baking sheets).
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.
While the doughnuts are proofing, heat neutral oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron works great). Heat the oil to 350°f / 180°c. Place a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place the sugar and freeze dried strawberry powder in a shallow bowl.
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 , 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. Once the doughnuts are totally cool, poke a hole in them using a chopstick, and widen the hole using your finger.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
Transfer the roasted strawberry mixture into a piping bag either with the end cut off or fitted with a very large round piping tip (I found it works best to just snip the end off rather than try and use a piping tip as then if you get the bag clogged by a piece of fruit, you can just squish it through the bag). Transfer the pastry cream to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip.
Pipe some strawberry filling into each doughnut, then fill up the remainder of the cavity with pastry cream, finishing with a little dot of pastry cream on the top of each doughnut. Garnish each with a piece of the leftover strawberry, if desired.
Best eaten on the day that they are made.