Brûlée Pumpkin DoughnutsWhile we all know and love a good crème brûlée, there is so much more that we can do with the simple brûlée cooking technique. Pumpkin pie in a doughnut, this brûléed pumpkin doughnut is just what you need to get you into the fall spirit.
IngredientsServes Makes about 18 doughnuts
SPICED VANILLA CREAM FILLING:
2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
½ cup (125 ml) granulated sugar
3 tbsp (45 ml) cornstarch
¼ tsp (1 ml) kosher salt
½ tsp (2 ml) ground cinnamon
½ tsp (2 ml) ground ginger
¼ tsp (1 ml) ground nutmeg
4 large egg yolks
2 tbsp (30 ml) unsalted butter, cut into ½-in (1.25 cm) cubes
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
2 cups (500 ml) granulated sugar, divided
1 tbsp (15 ml) active dry yeast
⅓ cup (75 ml) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 tsp (5 ml) fine sea salt
1 cup (250 ml) canned pumpkin purée
1 tsp (5 ml) ground cinnamon
½ tsp (2.5 ml) ground nutmeg
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
5½ cups (690 g) all-purpose flour
canola oil, for frying
¼ cup (60 ml) clover honey
- To make Spiced Vanilla Cream Filling, in a medium saucepan, combine milk with scraped vanilla bean along with its seeds. Bring just to a simmer over medium heat while stirring constantly. Remove saucepan from heat, cover and set aside for 30 minutes.
- In a large bowl, set up an ice bath by partially filling it with a combination of cold water and ice. Set aside.
- In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg until well combined. Add egg yolks and whisk until mixture is pale yellow, thick and fluffy, about 1 minute. Uncover infused milk and remove vanilla bean, rinsing and setting aside for another use, if desired. While whisking continuously, slowly pour milk into egg mixture in a thin stream until all has been added. Return mixture to same saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk constantly until pastry cream begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Once it starts to thicken, continue to whisk, pausing every few seconds to check for bubbles, about 1 minute. Once bubbles start to appear, whisk continuously for 1 minute. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in butter until thoroughly combined. Strain pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve set over a clean medium, heatproof bowl. Immediately place a piece of buttered parchment paper directly on surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Transfer bowl to prepared ice bath for 30 minutes. Remove bowl from ice bath and refrigerate pastry cream for 2 hours.
- While pastry cream chills, make doughnut dough. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, warm milk until lukewarm, about 3 minutes. Do not overheat milk, as it can kill the yeast. Pour milk into a large bowl and whisk in 1 cup (250 ml) sugar. Sprinkle yeast over milk mixture and let it stand until frothy, about 5 minutes. Once frothy, whisk in melted butter, egg, salt, pumpkin purée, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla until well combined.
- Begin adding flour, about 1 cup (250 ml) at a time, mixing well with a wooden spoon after each addition. Once a dough ball forms, invert dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough for 4 to 5 minutes, dusting occasionally with flour as needed, until dough is super soft and slightly sticky. Place dough in a clean mixing bowl, cover with a tea towel and set aside, allowing to proof until doubled in size, about 1 to 1½ hours.
- Once dough has proofed, pour at least 1-in (2.5 cm) of oil into a large heavy-bottomed stockpot or large cast iron pan and attach a thermometer. Warm oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F (180 C).
- Meanwhile, knead proofed dough lightly a couple of times then use a rolling pin to roll out to ½-in (1.25 cm) thickness on a lightly floured work surface. Using a 3-in (8 cm) circle cutter, cut out as many circles as possible, then collect scraps, knead and repeat rolling and cutting one more time.
- Working in batches of 4 or 5 at a time, carefully place doughnuts into preheated oil and fry, turning halfway through cooking time, until deep golden brown on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Once done, place doughnuts on a paper towel-lined baking tray to absorb excess oil. Repeat with remaining doughnut dough. Let doughnuts cool completely to room temperature.
- When ready to serve remove pastry cream from refrigerator and whisk until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Using a small knife, make a cut from side into centre of each doughnut, creating a pocket. Place piping tip in opening of pocket and fill each doughnut with cream. Repeat with all doughnuts.
- Place remaining 1 cup (250 ml) sugar onto a plate. Brush tops of each doughnut with a thin layer of honey before pressing into sugar. Brûlée each doughnut top using a home brûlée torch, taking care to move flame evenly back and forth over sugar, just above doughnut, until it has caramelized. Allow doughnut to sit for 5 minutes before serving.