Roasted rhubarb brioche doughnuts

Brioche doughnuts, roasted rhubarb, vanilla bean pastry cream, and vanilla sugar
Brioche doughnuts, roasted rhubarb, vanilla bean pastry cream, and vanilla sugar
Brioche doughnuts, roasted rhubarb, vanilla bean pastry cream, and vanilla sugar
Brioche doughnuts, roasted rhubarb, vanilla bean pastry cream, and vanilla sugar
Brioche doughnuts, roasted rhubarb, vanilla bean pastry cream, and vanilla sugar
Brioche doughnuts, roasted rhubarb, vanilla bean pastry cream, and vanilla sugar
Brioche doughnuts, roasted rhubarb, vanilla bean pastry cream, and vanilla sugar
Brioche doughnuts, roasted rhubarb, vanilla bean pastry cream, and vanilla sugar
Brioche doughnuts, roasted rhubarb, vanilla bean pastry cream, and vanilla sugar
Brioche doughnuts, roasted rhubarb, vanilla bean pastry cream, and vanilla sugar

This week has been ridiculous. We are currently exhibiting at design week, which all kicks off tonight. Yesterday was a 12 hour install, which is always exhausting. Usually we are pretty quick at those, but yesterday's dragged out - nothing really went wrong, it just all took forever. Thankfully we are done with that now, and can concentrate on design week fun! 

Let's just take a moment to talk about doughnuts though. As much as I love cake, I think I quite possibly love doughnuts more. There is something about a perfectly fried dough, either glazed with an interesting flavour or stuffed with some sort of exciting filling that really gets me going. The contrast of the sweet filling or glaze against an enriched fluffy dough is the best. And I love how versatile they are - you can make an entire batch, and finish them off in as many ways as you would like. 

Rhubarb season has just started here in NYC, and I almost feel a bit panicked to put it in as many things as I possibly can before it disappears from the greenmarket again. It grows year-round in New Zealand so I am used to having constant access to it, so this limited time period thing is kind of balls. I'm definitely going to make the most of it though - there are a few rhubarb recipes coming your way in the next few weeks so that you can make the most of it too! Including these doughnuts. 

These doughnuts are really something else. A fluffy brioche dough, a vanilla bean pastry cream, roasted rhubarb, and then finished off with a vanilla sugar. The combination of flavours compliments each other perfectly. The sharp tart flavour of the rhubarb stands up to the sweet custardy pastry cream, and the vanilla sugar highlights the vanilla paste that is tossed with the rhubarb and stirred through the pastry cream. It seems like a lot of elements, but each one has a well-deserved place. Rhubarb and custard are one of my favourite flavour combinations - I could have eaten all of these in one go, so had to take the rest to Jill's to get them out of my sight.

Rhubarb is notoriously sour, so I roasted it with a little vanilla bean and sugar to help take the edge off. It also makes it the most beautiful colour, and any leftover is perfect stirred through yoghurt, eaten with granola, or just straight up spooned into your mouth. 

A few wee notes:

  • The pastry cream is best made the day before or at least a few hours before you begin to make the doughnuts, so that it has time to cool completely.

  • Rhubarb can be roasted while the doughnuts are proofing - just make sure that it is cool before you fill the doughnuts with it

  • I made these using a stand mixer - you can most definitely do it by hand, but it will take a serious amount of elbow grease, and you will need to ensure that the butter is extremely well incorporated when you add it in.

  • The vanilla sugar ideally needs a little time to dry out, so make it just after you put the brioche dough on.

  • A thermometer will be your friend when you are frying dough. I love this one - it has an alarm on it which makes it super easy to use.

  • Most of the recipe is in grams. Ounces don't tend to be specific enough for pastry recipes. A kitchen scale is an excellent investment.

  • I love using vanilla paste in my recipes - My favourite is this brand (I buy it by the litre), but the seeds of a vanilla bean will work just as well.

  • Ensure that you do not over proof the doughnuts once they are cut out. The sign of a well proved doughnut is a small ring of pale dough around the middle of the doughnut.



Roasted rhubarb brioche doughnuts
- Makes approx 12 doughnuts -

Doughnut dough from little and Friday, Pastry cream adapted from Bouchon bakery

Vanilla bean pastry cream
132g egg yolks (about 8 yolks)
110g sugar
35g corn starch
1 Tbsp vanilla paste, or the scrapings from one vanilla bean
550g whole milk
27g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Vanilla sugar
1 1/2 cups (250g) sugar
1 tsp vanilla paste

Roasted rhubarb
500g rhubarb, washed, trimmed, and sliced into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
2 tsp vanilla paste

Brioche doughnut dough
180ml (3/4 cup) whole milk, lukewarm
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
2 1/4 tsp active yeast
3 cups (430g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg and 2 egg yolks
100g (7 Tbsp) unsalted butter, diced, at room temperature
Flavourless oil for frying (approx 4-6 cups)



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. 

Strain the pastry cream through a mesh sieve, and into a bowl. Cool to room temperature then place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pastry cream to prevent a skin. Place in the fridge until completely cooled.


In a small bowl, rub the vanilla bean paste into the sugar using your finger tips. Spread out on a plate to dry at room temp. When you are ready to use, break up using your fingers. Pass through a mesh sieve if required to remove any lumps.


Preheat oven to 180˚c / 350˚f. Toss together the rhubarb, vanilla paste and sugar in a bowl. Transfer to a baking tray and roast for 15-20 minutes, until the rhubarb is soft and syrupy. Allow to cool slightly then either transfer to a blender or food processor and puree, or mash well with a potato masher. Allow to cool completely.


In a small bowl, combine the lukewarm milk, yeast, and 1 Tbsp of the sugar. Stir to combine, and leave for 5 minutes until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, remaining sugar, and salt. Mix on low using the dough hook.

Add the yeast and eggs to the dry ingredients, and mix on low until the dough forms a sticky ball. Increase the speed of the mixer and knead for another 5 minutes, stopping occasionally to clear the dough hook of dough. 

With the mixer on medium, add the butter a cube at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated before adding the next piece. This process should take 12-15 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, knead for a further two minutes, until the dough is soft and elastic, and passes the "window pane" test. This is where the dough will stretch and become transparent when stretched out. If it breaks, continue to knead until it reaches this stage. 

Cover the bowl with a wet kitchen towel, and allow to prove until doubled in size, 45-90 minutes depending on the conditions in your kitchen. 

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Roll into a circle that is about 2.5cm thick (1 inch). Leave to sit for 5 minutes to allow the dough to relax.

Cut out circle shapes using a cookie cutter approximately 2.5 inches (6cm) in diameter. Place the cut doughnuts on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

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 the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron works great). Heat the oil to 175-180˚c / 340-350˚f. 

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 for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes on each side 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 vanilla sugar. Repeat the process with the rest of the doughnuts. Once the doughnuts are cool, poke a hole in them using a chopstick, and widen the hole using your finger.


Fill a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized round tip with the pastry cream. Fill a second bag with the rhubarb puree. Carefully fill the cavity of the doughnut halfway with rhubarb puree, then follow with the pastry cream, as full as the doughnut will allow you - you can usually feel when they are full. When you pull away the piping bag, a little of the pastry cream should ooze out. Top each with a small blob of the rhubarb. 

Serve immediately. Best eaten on the day that they are made.

Brioche doughnuts, roasted rhubarb, vanilla bean pastry cream, and vanilla sugar

Lavender and Pistachio Brioche Doughnuts


Doughnuts are another thing on the list of "things I only recently realised are very easy to make at home". This list also includes ice cream, almond milk, mozzarella cheese, and a whole heap of other things. 

Recently Richard's parents were visiting, and we took them to Chelsea Market in NYC. It has to be one of my favourite places in New York, aside from the green market. There are so many amazing things all jammed into one building and its just the best! We got some teeny baby doughnuts from The Doughnuttery, and one of the flavours was called "Paris Time" - Vanilla, pistachio and lavender. If you know me you know that anything Lavender gets me all heart-eyes, and these were no exception. Of course as soon as we got home I had to recreate my own version.. so here we are! 

Brioche doughnuts bring a whole new element to the doughnut game - they are buttery and tender and just the right amount of sweet to hold up against being drowned in pistachio and lavender sugar. Normally I have a little bit of whatever I make then give it to friends, our staff at the studio, the doormen, etc (If you live in NYC and like baking hit me up because theres always extra), but not these. My goodness. The combination of brioche, pistachio and lavender is one of my favourites. 

If you are planning on making these, you will need to make the dough the night before and give it its first rise at room temperature, and then the second in the fridge overnight, then shape the doughnuts and give them their third proof the next day before frying and sugaring them. You could also use non brioche dough if you wanted these to be ready the same day you make them - Deb's recipe is my favourite. The dough recipe I have used here comes from the Bouchon bakery book, which is soon becoming one of my most reached for books. All the recipes are in grams, which I LOVE (My brain works in kilograms and grams, and I struggle so so hard to swap over to pounds and ounces), and the recipes are so well written and easy to follow. If you are looking for an amazing pastry book, this is my current fave! 




Lavender and Pistachio Brioche Doughnuts
- Makes 8 -

Doughnut recipe from 'Bouchon Bakery'

Brioche Doughnut Dough 
518g (3 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp) All purpose flour
10g (1 Tbsp) instant yeast
74g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp) Sugar
9g (1 Tbsp) Salt
212g (3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp) Whole milk, at 75f/24c
111g (1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp) eggs
9g (1 1/2 tsp) vanilla paste
55g (2 oz) Unsalted butter, in cubes, at room temperature

Canola oil, for frying

Pistachio Lavender Sugar
300g (1 1/2 cups) sugar, divided
35g (1/3 cup) raw pistachios
2g (1 Tbsp) Culinary lavender




In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachios, lavender and 200g (1 cup) sugar until it resembles fine crumbs. Pour into a small bowl and add the remaining half cup (100g) sugar, and stir to combine. Set aside and store in an airtight container until ready to use.


Place flour and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, and stir to combine. Add Sugar, salt, milk, eggs and vanilla paste, and mix on low for 5 minutes until combined. The dough will look sticky. Mix for a further two minutes. At this stage some pieces of dough will be sticking to the sides of the bowl. Add the butter a cube at a time, mixing well until each piece is well incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and hook, and mix for a further 15-20 minutes, scraping down periodically.

Turn the dough onto a well floured work surface. Avoid adding flour if necessary - add only enough to prevent sticking. Shape the dough into a rectangle, with the short side facing you. Fold the top side down toward you two-thirds of the way down the rectangle, stretching slightly, then repeat with the bottom side, stretching lightly again. Lightly oil a bowl. Place the dough, seam side down into the bowl. Cover with a cloth and leave at room temperature for about an hour. 

Re-flour your surface, and turn the dough out onto it. Press it into a rectangle and repeat the stretching and folding process. Re-oil the bowl, and return the dough to it seam-side down. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day, lightly flour your work surface, and turn out the dough. Roll it into a round about 12 inches in diameter. Place on a lined tray and refrigerate for 20 minutes, or freeze for 10 minutes, until the dough has firmed up enough to cut easily. 

Line a tray with a silpat or parchment paper sprayed with cooking spray. Using a 3 1/2 inch cutter, cut 8 circles out of the dough. Use a 1 inch cutter to cut holes in each circle. Use the 1 inch cutter to cut mini doughnut 'holes' out of the remaining scraps (These also work well for testing the dough)

Cover the doughnuts with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray, and leave in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until doubled in size. Place approximately 3 inches of oil into a deep pot or dutch oven, and heat to 350f/177c. Place a cooling rack over a sheet pan, and have the pistachio lavender sugar on a plate nearby.

Working in batches of two, carefully lower the doughnuts one at a time into the oil. Fry for 1 minute, then flip and fry for an additional 2 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oil and place on the rack. When the second batch has finished cooking, transfer the first cooled doughnuts into the bowl of sugar and generously cover both sides with sugar. Tap lightly to remove excess sugar. 

Repeat frying and sugaring process with the remaining doughnuts. Doughnuts will keep for one to two days in an airtight container, but are best eaten on the day that they are fried.