My Custard Donuts are the perfect homemade treat to sweeten up your weekend. Featuring light, airy brioche and creamy, velvety custard, all encased in a sugar-kissed, golden exterior, these delectable doughnuts filled with custard are guaranteed to start your day on a deliciously positive note.
Our journey starts with the foundation of our custard donuts recipe — a luxurious, butter-rich brioche dough. The art of crafting yeasted dough is a journey of patience and precision. But don't worry, I'm here every step of the way to guide you through! You'll master the art of kneading until it's just right, witnessing the dough's transformation as it rises, and then shaping it into soft, cloud-like rounds poised for their hot oil bath.
Next, we reach the transformative stage. Each brioche donut is carefully fried to perfection, emerging as a golden-hued treat. They’re then lovingly rolled in a blanket of sugar, creating a textural balance of crunch and tenderness in each bite. But the soul of these custard doughnuts lies inside — a velvety smooth, light yet decadent homemade pastry cream.
While making homemade donuts might seem intimidating, this journey is for every interested baker. With clear, easy-to-follow instructions and illustrative step-by-step photos, you'll be guided from the initial mixing of dough to the resulting platter of custard doughnuts.
⭐ Why You’ll Love This Recipe For Custard-Filled Donuts
If you're on the hunt for a recipe that combines comfort, indulgence, and a touch of baking magic, look no further than these custard-filled donuts. Here's why you'll absolutely adore making (and eating!) them:
- A Bite of Bliss: Imagine the perfect fusion of fluffy brioche and creamy custard – that's exactly what you get with every bite of these custard cream donuts. They're like little pillows of happiness, filled with a smooth, rich custard that'll have you closing your eyes and "mmmmm"-ing in delight.
- Unmatched Freshness & Flavor: Get ready for your kitchen to become your new favorite donut shop. There's something unbeatable about the aroma and taste of freshly fried donuts, especially when they're filled with homemade, silky-smooth custard.
- Perfect for Sharing (or Not!): These custard filled doughnuts are conversation starters, smile inducers, and maybe even new tradition makers. Whip up a batch to experience the magic firsthand!
- A Rewarding Baking Project: Whether you're a whiz in the kitchen or just starting out, this custard filled donuts recipe is a joy to follow. With detailed steps and tips, it's like having a friendly baking coach (🙋🏻♀️) by your side. And trust me, when you're piping that creamy custard into a warm donut, you'll feel like a bona fide pastry chef!
Ready to dive into the world of homemade Custard-Filled Donuts? Here's a breakdown of the three key players in our donut game:
- Brioche Donut Dough: The star of our show! Brioche dough is what sets these donuts apart. It's a rich, slightly sweet dough, made with plenty of butter, eggs, and a touch of sugar. This gives the donuts their signature tender crumb and luxurious taste. Think of it as the plush, soft pillow that will cradle our creamy filling.
- Neutral Oil: For frying our donuts, we'll need a good amount of neutral oil. Palm, canola, or even peanut oil work great. The key here is to use an oil that doesn't add its own flavor to the donuts. We want that golden, crispy exterior without any extra taste distractions.
- Pastry Cream: Pastry cream, or crème pâtissière, acts as the custard filling for donuts. It is a rich, pudding-like dream made from milk, eggs, sugar, and a thickening agent like cornstarch or flour. It's the creamy filling you'd find in traditional cream puffs or eclairs. You can keep it classic by flavoring it with vanilla, or get adventurous with other extracts or even a dash of your favorite liqueur to make this custard filled doughnuts recipe your own.
See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.
⏲️ Substitutions & Variations
This recipe has not been tested with other substitutions or variations. If you replace or add any ingredients, please let us know how it turned out in the comments below!
- Different Flavored Fillings - While vanilla custard doughnuts are delightful, feel free to get creative with how you fill these pillowy soft treats. Try making lemon custard donuts by folding some lemon curd in with pastry cream or whipped cream. You can also make Bavarian cream-filled donuts, strawberry cream donuts, or passionfruit cream donuts. Other options include rose-scented pastry cream, chocolate & cacao nib pastry cream, or blackberry cream donuts, just to name a few.
- Extra Sparkly - Add a little extra shimmer by swapping in sanding sugar for granulated when rolling the hot donuts.
📖 How To Make Custard Donuts: Step-by-Step Instructions
Step 1 - Make Pastry Cream: In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks, corn starch, and sugar. Gradually add hot milk while stirring.
Step 2 - Cool & Prep: Cook over low heat until the mixture thickens into a custard. Stir in vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste. Cool overnight, and place in a pastry bag.
Step 3 - Make your Brioche: Mix and knead together your brioche dough until you've passed the window pane test. Then proof, and place in the fridge overnight.
Step 4 - Shape & second rise: After the dough has rested overnight, it’s time to start shaping! Divide your dough using a sharp knife or a bench scraper into even pieces.
Step 5 - Fry Doughnuts: Fry doughnuts for 2-3 minutes on each side using a slotted spoon. Toss in granulated sugar.
Step 6 - Fill and Enjoy: Let the doughnuts cool for a short while before filling and enjoying!
👩🏻🍳 Expert baking tips
Here are a few insider tips to ensure this custard doughnuts recipe turns out absolutely perfect every time:
- Roll in Sugar While Warm: Timing is key when it comes to achieving that perfect sugary crust. Roll your donuts in sugar while they're still warm, but not too hot to handle. This helps the sugar stick beautifully, creating that irresistible, sweet crunch on the outside.
- Keep an Eye on the Oil Temperature: Consistency is crucial when frying. Use a thermometer to keep your oil temperature steady – around 350°F (175°C) is ideal. Too hot, and your donuts will brown too quickly without cooking through. Too cool, and they'll absorb excess oil, losing that delightful lightness.
- Cool Before Filling: Patience pays off when it comes to filling your donuts. Let them cool down a bit after frying. Filling them while they are too hot can cause the pastry cream to melt, turning your perfect filling into a puddle. You want that cream to be luscious and intact when you bite in.
- Give Your Dough Time to Rise: Brioche dough is a bit of a diva; she needs time to get ready! Allowing the dough to properly rise is what gives it that dreamy, airy texture. Think of this as the dough's beauty rest – absolutely essential if you’re looking for a standing ovation.
- Even Filling Distribution: When filling your donuts with pastry cream, aim for an even distribution. You want every bite to be as heavenly as the last. A piping bag with a long nozzle works wonders for getting the filling right into the center.
Do custard donuts need to be refrigerated? How long do they last?
Indeed! Due to the custard's dairy and egg content, it's essential to store these donuts in the fridge. They'll stay delightful for up to 3 days when kept in an airtight container in your refrigerator. However, they're at their absolute best when fresh. So, try to plan your baking session around when you can share and relish them quickly — this way, you'll get the most deliciousness for your efforts! 🍩❄️👍
Can custard donuts be frozen?
Actually, I wouldn't recommend freezing custard donuts. The freezing and thawing process can affect the texture and consistency of the custard, plus it can lead to soggy dough.
It's best to enjoy these donuts fresh or store them in the refrigerator if you need to keep them for a short period. Enjoying them within a few days of baking is the way to go for that perfect taste and texture! 🍩👌
Are custard donuts vegetarian?
I can’t speak to all custard donuts out there, as some might be made with animal products like lard. That said, these particular custard donuts are indeed vegetarian-friendly!
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Custard Donuts with Vanilla Pastry Cream
- Slotted Spoon
- 4 cups (976 g) Whole Milk
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- 5 (90 g) Egg Yolks
- ⅔ cup (133 g) Granulated Sugar
- ½ cup (64 g) Cornstarch
- Pinch Kosher Salt
- 3 Tablespoons (42 g) Unsalted Butter
- ¾ Cup (175 g) Warm Water
- ¼ Cup (50 g) Granulated Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Active dry yeast
- 3 ¾ Cup (500 g) All-Purpose flour
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1 ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ⅓ Cup + 1 Tbsp (100 g) Unsalted Butter, room temperature
- 2 liters Canola oil, for frying
- ¼ cup (50 g) Granulated Sugar
- In a heavy saucepan, add your scraped vanilla bean and milk together and bring to a simmer.4 cups Whole Milk, 1 Vanilla Bean
- Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and pinch of salt together in a bowl. Whisk until the mixture lightens in color and becomes a pale yellow. Temper the egg mixture by slowly whisking in the hot milk to the egg mixture together until homogenous.5 Egg Yolks, ⅔ cup Granulated Sugar, ½ cup Cornstarch, Pinch Kosher Salt
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly over medium heat. When the pastry cream comes to a boil, continue to whisk constantly and boil for up to 2 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and strain into a clean bowl. Stir in the butter and mix until the butter is melted and mixed into the cream. Cover with plastic film placed directly in contact with the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming and place in the fridge to cool.3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- Mix together the warm water, sugar and yeast together in your stand mixer’s mixing bowl. Let this mixture rest undisturbed for 5-10 minutes until you start to see bubbles start to form on the surface.¾ Cup Warm Water, ¼ Cup Granulated Sugar, 1 teaspoon Active dry yeast
- Add your flour and eggs to the active yeast mixture using the paddle attachment. After one minute of mixing on medium speed, the ingredients should be well combined. At this point, switch to using the dough hook attachment and knead for 6-8 minutes before adding salt and butter one tablespoon at a time. Continue kneading with the dough hook for another 5-8 minutes until the dough looks smooth and glossy and you notice that the dough is not sticking to the sides of the bowl. This means that your dough has been well developed and we can stop mixing.3 ¾ Cup All-Purpose flour, 3 Large Eggs, ⅓ Cup + 1 tablespoon Unsalted Butter, 1 ¼ teaspoon Salt
- Place the dough in an oiled bowl and allow to proof for 1.5 to 2 hours covered in plastic wrap. You’re looking for the dough to have about doubled in size before moving on to the next step. If your kitchen tends to run quite cold, try to find a warm spot to leave the dough for this resting period. Then, remove the plastic wrap, and degas the dough by punching it down before recovering and placing it in the fridge overnight. This overnight rest of about 12-14 hours is essential in order to develop flavor as the dough continues to ferment slowly within low temperatures.
- After the dough has rested overnight – it’s time to start shaping! Divide your dough using a sharp knife or a bench scraper into 65 gram even pieces. Gently degas each piece by pressing on top of the ball with the heel of your hand before forming into a tight boule. Place each piece of dough onto a parchment lined baking tray where the parchment has been lightly sprayed with baking spray and cover with plastic wrap that has also been sprayed ( so the plastic wrap doesn't stick to the dough). Let the dough sit undisturbed in a warm spot to proof until they have doubled in size for about 1.5-2 hours.
- Approximately twenty minutes before the doughnuts have finished their final proof, it’s time to start heating your frying oil! Grab a large Dutch oven or your preferred container for frying. Add the oil, ensuring that you have at least 3 inches of height from the bottom of the Dutch oven to the top of the oil. Turning the stove on medium-high, heat the oil to 340° F.2 liters Canola oil
- I always do a “test” doughnut before moving on to the remaining doughnuts. Fry the test doughnut for 2-3 minutes on each side before removing it from the oil with a slotted spoon and placing it on a cooling rack lined with paper towels. Continue this process by gently dropping four pieces of proofed dough into the oil at a time, making sure not to crowd the doughnuts too much! Toss in granulated sugar to coat each side of the fried dough. Make sure to check the temperature of the oil after each batch, in case you need to reheat the oil back to 345° F.¼ cup Granulated Sugar
- Fill a piping bag with your pastry cream filling. Pierce the doughnut with the tip of the piping bag and fill the center of the doughnut with the filling. Enjoy!
- DON’T skip the overnight rest. The dough continues to ferment slowly overnight within the low temperatures, which is essential to developing flavor.
- Use a thermometer to consistently check the oil’s temperature. It can rise and lower as you move through the frying process. Keep a close eye on the temperature to ensure it stays at 345ºF for even and consistent doughnuts.
- Be prepared before you start! This recipe moves quickly, so have your thermometer, a plate lined with paper towels, and your sugar coating ready before you begin frying.