So, I’ve made a lot of donuts. Really, a lot. And of course they are all edible, no matter what they are made of (the delights of frying sweet dough!) but I’m surprised how most of them aren’t that distinctive, no matter what nuances are in the ingredients. For that, and many other reasons, this donut is the best donut I’ve made. It puffs like it should, it rounds like its should, it’s light and billowy, and doesn’t taste like a soaker for oil. Whenever I make it, I think, why did I try any other recipe? This is simply as good as it gets. This recipe comes from Flour, an incredible baking book by Joanne Chang. And I know the picture is a bit summery, but really, this is the recipe we make and give out every Halloween. There should be some orange in that picture somewhere!
Vanilla Cream Filled Donuts
- 1 package (2 1/2 t.) active dry yeast or 2/3 ounce (18 grams) fresh cake yeast
- 2/3 c. (160 grams) milk, at room temperature
- 3 1/2 c. (490 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/3 c. (270 grams) sugar
- 2 t. kosher salt
- 3 eggs
- 7 T. (3/4 stick/100 grams) butter, at room temperature, cut into 6 to 8 pieces
- Canola oil, for frying
- 1 c. heavy cream
- 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
- 2 t. vanilla (use clear, if available)
- 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.
- To make the vanilla cream filling: While the doughnuts are cooking, whip the heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla until it holds stiff peaks. You should have about 3 cups.
- 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.