I decided to make doughnuts because I actually just wanted some chocolate crème patissière, but you cannot morally make that on its own unless you’re also one of those people who buys whipped cream in a can to squirt directly in your mouth. Therefore chocolate filled doughnuts seemed like a good idea. Don’t even think about making baked doughnuts or wondering how to make these doughnuts healthier, you need to commit to this one hundred percent and not feel any embarrassment or shame about the fact that you’re about to fry up lumps of dough.
Now it might seem a little incongruous to pump a doughnut full of beautiful, silky chocolate crème patissière, but it’s one of those appallingly evil wonderful things that just works. Crunchy and sugary on the outside, with the soft and fluffy bread giving way to the unctuous chocolate custard on the inside, it’s pure delicious food porn. They’re the messiest things to eat and will leave you with sugar, oil and chocolate all over your fingers and face which may be not be dermalogically recommended but totally worth it. Besides, it’s cold outside and what’s more comforting than the permeating sugary fried smell of the inside of a doughnut truck? Now there’s a good idea for some scented candles.
I think this works because of the combination, and as it happens some of my favourite things in life are a mix of high and low. Truffled mac and cheese. My gastronomic bestie, who has in-depth discussions about eating caviar and fresh porcini, but secretly loves those sausage buns from Bread Top. Wearing Chanel and Zara. Eating scampi sashimi and sea urchin whilst sitting on the plastic grass amongst the dirty seagulls at the Sydney Fish Market. Watching episodes of The Valleys from Point Piper. Actually I’ve never done that last one but I will make a point of doing so.
Sliding the puffs of dough into the hot oil and watching them turn golden brown just warms the cockles of your heart – I highly recommend a good deep frying session if you ever need cheering up and you don’t have a puppy or someone’s baby to play with. You can pipe in some seedless raspberry jam if you’re a bit of a traditionalist. As you can see, I made some mini doughnuts from the leftover dough which were too small to fill but still made a decent custard vehicle by dunking the whole doughnut in the custard and shoving it into my mouth.
If you do go to the effort of making the chocolate crème patissière, I won’t blame you for eating it all with a spoon out of the saucepan before you even get a chance to make the doughnuts. I’ll bet you have a can of that squirty cream in the back of your fridge too, you dirty thing you.
CHOCOLATE FILLED DOUGHNUTS
Recipe from Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2/3 cup milk, at room temperature
3 1/2 cups (490 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups (270 grams) sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
100g butter, at room temperature, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
Chocolate Crème Patissière Filling
3 egg yolks
3 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
150g chocolate (milk or dark, depending on your preference)
1 ½ cups milk
In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the yeast and milk. Stir together briefly, then let sit for about 1 minute to dissolve the yeast. Add the flour, 1/3 cup (70 grams) of the sugar, the salt, and the eggs and mix on low speed for about 1 minute, or until the dough comes together. Then, still on low speed, mix for another 2 to 3 minutes to develop the dough further. Now, begin to add the butter, a few pieces at a time, and continue to mix for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is soft and cohesive.
Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 15 hours.
Lightly flour a baking sheet. On a well-floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch square about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2- to 4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 9 doughnuts. Arrange them on the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to proof for 2 to 3 hours, or until they are about doubled in height and feel poufy and pillowy.
When ready to fry, line a tray or baking sheet large enough to hold the doughnuts with paper towels. Pour oil to a depth of about 3 inches into a large, heavy saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. To test the oil, throw in a pinch of flour. If it sizzles on contact, the oil is ready. (It should be 350 degrees if you are using a thermometer.) Working in batches, place the doughnuts in the hot oil, being careful not to crowd them. Fry on the first side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown. Then gently flip them and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown on the second side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the prepared tray and let cool for a few minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
Place the remaining 1 cup (200 grams) sugar in a small bowl. One at a time, toss the warm doughnuts in the sugar to coat evenly. As each doughnut is coated, return it to the tray to cool completely. This will take 30 to 40 minutes
When doughnuts are completely cooled, poke a hole in the side of each doughnut, spacing it equidistant between the top and bottom. Fit a pastry bag with a small round tip and fill the bag with the filling. Squirt about 1/3 cup filling into each doughnut. Serve immediately.
Chocolate Crème Patissière
Mix together egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour in bowl until well combined and smooth. Heat milk in a small saucepan until boiling. Add a splash of the hot milk into the egg yolk mix and stir well before adding another the splash of hot milk. Adding the milk very slowly is to ensure that the egg is not scrambled by the hot milk. Once it is all combined in the bowl, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and stir constantly over low heat until thickened. Once it is thick, remove from the heat and add the chocolate pieces and stir to melt. Keep stirring until glossy and smooth. Leave to cool. Cover the surface of the custard with cling wrap to prevent and skin forming. Place in fridge to allow the custard to become a little more solid for piping.