Mini Pastry Cream Filled Brioche Doughnuts


 
Perfectly fluffy mini brioche doughnuts are fried to perfection, rolled in sugar, and filled with flavoured pastry cream. A whole tray of mini doughnuts would be perfect for a special occasion or gathering, as they are a hit with all ages! #doughnut #briochedoughnut
Perfectly fluffy mini brioche doughnuts are fried to perfection, rolled in sugar, and filled with flavoured pastry cream. A whole tray of mini doughnuts would be perfect for a special occasion or gathering, as they are a hit with all ages! #doughnut #briochedoughnut
Perfectly fluffy mini brioche doughnuts are fried to perfection, rolled in sugar, and filled with flavoured pastry cream. A whole tray of mini doughnuts would be perfect for a special occasion or gathering, as they are a hit with all ages! #doughnut #briochedoughnut
Perfectly fluffy mini brioche doughnuts are fried to perfection, rolled in sugar, and filled with flavoured pastry cream. A whole tray of mini doughnuts would be perfect for a special occasion or gathering, as they are a hit with all ages! #doughnut #briochedoughnut
Perfectly fluffy mini brioche doughnuts are fried to perfection, rolled in sugar, and filled with flavoured pastry cream. A whole tray of mini doughnuts would be perfect for a special occasion or gathering, as they are a hit with all ages! #doughnut #briochedoughnut
Perfectly fluffy mini brioche doughnuts are fried to perfection, rolled in sugar, and filled with flavoured pastry cream. A whole tray of mini doughnuts would be perfect for a special occasion or gathering, as they are a hit with all ages! #doughnut #briochedoughnut
Perfectly fluffy mini brioche doughnuts are fried to perfection, rolled in sugar, and filled with flavoured pastry cream. A whole tray of mini doughnuts would be perfect for a special occasion or gathering, as they are a hit with all ages! #doughnut #briochedoughnut
Perfectly fluffy mini brioche doughnuts are fried to perfection, rolled in sugar, and filled with flavoured pastry cream. A whole tray of mini doughnuts would be perfect for a special occasion or gathering, as they are a hit with all ages! #doughnut #briochedoughnut
Perfectly fluffy mini brioche doughnuts are fried to perfection, rolled in sugar, and filled with flavoured pastry cream. A whole tray of mini doughnuts would be perfect for a special occasion or gathering, as they are a hit with all ages! #doughnut #briochedoughnut

Hi hi and happy Saturday! I am just popping in here to share this wee recipe with you! I got a deep fryer maybe a few months ago and went on a quest to fry literally everything in sight. It’s great for making all kinds of things, but especially great for mini doughnuts. I made these brioche cinnamon ones a while back and they seemed to be a huge hit, so I figured it was time to try my hand at mini filled doughnuts!

I took my go to brioche dough, and turned it into these super cute wee doughnuts, which I rolled in a bunch of different flavoured sugars. I filled these guys with a vanilla bean pastry cream, which I made a big batch of and split into four, and flavoured it with something a wee bit new and exciting - Heilala Vanilla’s new infused Vanilla extracts! If you’ve been round here for a while you know what a massive massive fan I am of Heilala and their products - not only is it the most amazing vanilla in which they control production from growth to product, but it is run by the most amazing people who are making such a huge effort to give back to the kingdom of Tonga where their first vanilla orchids were planted. Heilala started a kickstarter to fund their new line of extracts a few weeks back, and there is just one week to go, so if you can, pop on over and pledge - you are going to want to get your hands on some of this amazing extract, as it is a total game changer. I’m so excited to play around with it a little more!

For these dougnuts, I divided the filling once it was made, and stirred through some of Heilala’s infused extracts. I ended up going with four flavours - the cocoa extract, the coffee extract, the oak aged vanilla extract, and the pumpkin spice extract. I also made up some flavoured sugars to correspond with the filling flavour. I had a little of the oak aged vanilla extract left over so also had a little play with making a strawberry sugar using some freeze dried strawberry powder, and it was so, so so good with the vanilla filling! I finished each off with a tiny garnish - a sprinkle of the flavour of the sugar, just to help tell which was which. The flavoured pastry cream was so unique and delicious, I honestly don’t think that I can decide which one was my favourite. The infused extracts are such an easy way to add a huge depth of flavour to whatever you are making.

These doughnuts would be so perfect for something like a children’s party or event - because they are mini it gives everyone the opportunity to try all of the different flavours. They would also make amazing larger doughnuts - to do this I would follow these shaping and frying instructions.

A few wee tips:

  • Chilled dough is easiest to work with and cut out, so I recommend giving these an overnight rise in the fridge if you can. Alternatively you could roll it out, place it on a sheet pan (you may need to divide it in two), cover with plastic wrap, and pop in the freezer for 15-20 minutes to help firm up

  • I like to make both the brioche dough and the pastry cream the night before to give them time to cool.

  • I divided up the pastry cream after making it and then flavoured it individually. You can definitely only do one type if you want - I would go with the oak aged vanilla, as it pairs perfectly with literally anything.

  • I also made a whole bunch of different flavoured sugars to roll the doughnuts in! You can make these any flavour that you like - basically you just add flavour powder in whatever form (coffee, spices, freeze dried fruit powder etc) to sugar and then use that to roll the doughnuts in.

 

 

Mini Pastry Cream Filled Brioche Doughnuts

- Makes about 45 doughnuts -

Pastry cream adapted from Bouchon bakery

Doughnut dough
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
250g (1 cup) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp (50g) sugar
565g (3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp Heilala vanilla bean paste
90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Neutral oil for frying

Vanilla Pastry Cream
132g egg yolks (about 8 yolks)
110g sugar
37g corn starch
1 tsp Heilala vanilla bean paste
550g whole milk
27g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 tsp Heilala Vanilla Pumpkin Spice Vanilla Extract
3/4 tsp Heilala Vanilla Oak Aged Vanilla Extract
3/4 tsp Heilala Vanilla Coffee Vanilla Extract
3/4 tsp Heilala Vanilla Cocoa Vanilla Extract

To Finish
500g Sugar, divided into 100g portions
For Vanilla Sugar: add 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder to 100g sugar
For Coffee Sugar: add 1/2 tsp espresso powder to 100g sugar
For Strawberry Sugar: add 1/2 tsp Freeze Dried strawberry powder to 100g sugar
For Pumpkin Spice Sugar: add 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice to 100g sugar
For Cocoa sugar: add 1/2 tsp cocoa to 100g sugar

 

- PROCESS -

DOUGHNUTS

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place overnight in the fridge to rise (see notes).

 

PASTRY CREAM

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. 

Weigh the pastry cream and divide into four if flavouring. Add 3/4 tsp each flavour of Heilala infused vanilla extract to each portion of pastry cream. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly against the surface of each portion of pastry cream and place in the fridge to cool completely.


FRYING AND ASSEMBLY

Line two sheet pans with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Roll until it is 1/2” thickness.

Using a 1 3/4” round cutter, cut out circles of dough. Repeat until you have cut out all of the dough - scraps can be pressed together and re-rolled. I like to use the scrap ones for the first test fry, as they sometimes turn out a little wonky.

Lightly cover the cut-out doughnuts with plastic wrap, and leave to rise for 45-50 minutes, until puffy. When you poke them lightly with your finger, it should leave a small indentation that springs back.

In the last 15-20 minutes of the doughnuts proofing, heat neutral oil to 350°f / 180°c in a large heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron works great). Place a wire rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Mix up the flavoured sugars, if using.

Once the oil has come to temperature, test it with a few scraps of dough, or your doughnuts you cut from the re-rolled dough. Gently lower the doughnuts, up to six at a time (depending on the size of your pot), into the hot oil. Cook , flipping every 30 seconds, for 3-4 minutes, 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 sugar. Repeat the process with the rest of the doughnuts.

Allow the doughnuts to cool completely, then, using a chopstick or paring knife, cut a hole in each doughnut. Transfer the pastry cream to piping bags either with the end snipped off or fitted with a round piping tip.

Fill each doughnut with pastry cream (correspond the pastry cream flavour to the tossed sugar flavour if you are using different flavours of pastry cream), piping a small blob on the top of each. Sprinkle with a corresponding garnish (I used valrhona crispy pearls, pumpkin spice, espresso powder, a little piece of vanilla bean, and a sprinkle of freeze-dried strawberry powder on the strawberry vanilla ones.

Best eaten on the day that they are made.

Perfectly fluffy mini brioche doughnuts are fried to perfection, rolled in sugar, and filled with flavoured pastry cream. A whole tray of mini doughnuts would be perfect for a special occasion or gathering, as they are a hit with all ages! #doughnut #briochedoughnut

Thank you so much to Heilala Vanilla for sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.

Malasadas with Liliko'i (Passionfruit) Pastry Cream Filling


 
Malasadas with Liliko'i (Passionfruit) Pastry Cream Filling from Alana Kysar's new book, Aloha Kitchen. Malasadas are Portuguese style doughnuts, which are soft and fluffy. They are fried off, then rolled in sugar, then filled with a silky liliko'i pastry cream. These are the perfect indulgent treat, and are super easy to make. #malasadas #doughnuts #lilikoi #passionfruit
Malasadas with Liliko'i (Passionfruit) Pastry Cream Filling from Alana Kysar's new book, Aloha Kitchen. Malasadas are Portuguese style doughnuts, which are soft and fluffy. They are fried off, then rolled in sugar, then filled with a silky liliko'i pastry cream. These are the perfect indulgent treat, and are super easy to make. #malasadas #doughnuts #lilikoi #passionfruit
Malasadas with Liliko'i (Passionfruit) Pastry Cream Filling from Alana Kysar's new book, Aloha Kitchen. Malasadas are Portuguese style doughnuts, which are soft and fluffy. They are fried off, then rolled in sugar, then filled with a silky liliko'i pastry cream. These are the perfect indulgent treat, and are super easy to make. #malasadas #doughnuts #lilikoi #passionfruit
Malasadas with Liliko'i (Passionfruit) Pastry Cream Filling from Alana Kysar's new book, Aloha Kitchen. Malasadas are Portuguese style doughnuts, which are soft and fluffy. They are fried off, then rolled in sugar, then filled with a silky liliko'i pastry cream. These are the perfect indulgent treat, and are super easy to make. #malasadas #doughnuts #lilikoi #passionfruit
Malasadas with Liliko'i (Passionfruit) Pastry Cream Filling from Alana Kysar's new book, Aloha Kitchen. Malasadas are Portuguese style doughnuts, which are soft and fluffy. They are fried off, then rolled in sugar, then filled with a silky liliko'i pastry cream. These are the perfect indulgent treat, and are super easy to make. #malasadas #doughnuts #lilikoi #passionfruit

Hi hi! My sweet friend Alana wrote a cookbook, and I am so, so excited to be sharing a recipe from it today! Although Alana and I have never actually met IRL (story of my life, this is what happens when you’re a hermit and lots of your friends don’t live in NYC), but we have been internet friends for a few years now, and I was so stoked to get a copy of her new beautiful book, Aloha Kitchen, in the mail recently!

Alana is originally from Hawai’i, and her book not only gives you an incredible history of Hawai’i, the food, and all the cultures that have made it their home, but it is filled with the most beautiful food and recipes. Most people don’t realise just how diverse the food in Hawai’i really is, and this is reflected so, so perfectly in the book. I can’t wait to explore it a little more - the book is already filled with post it notes. Congrats lady, the book is so incredible! x

I thought I was going to have a tough time choosing a recipe to share from the book, but as soon as I came across this recipe for Malasadas with Liliko’i Pastry Cream, my decision was made incredibly easily. I think we all know by now my obsession for a) doughnuts and b) passionfruit / liliko’i, and this ticks both boxes. Passionfruit is super hard to come by in NYC, so when we went to Hawai’i with family a few years ago, it took us a few days to realise that Liliko’i were passionfruit - they are round and yellow in Hawai’i, whereas they are weird purple shrivelled things in NZ, so we didn’t put two and two together! When we did realise, we went on a mad mission to buy a bunch from the local farmer’s market to bring back to NYC, stupidly not realising we weren’t allowed to take fruit off of Maui (I promise we aren’t as stupid tourist as we sound), so we stood outside airport security in Maui, and ate about 15 each in the space of 5 minutes, before leaving the rest of the giant bag with the dude working the scanner (he was stoked). I’ve never had a stomach ache more worth it.

Malasadas are Portuguese style doughnuts - it was my first time making them, but definitely won’t be my last. The process is a little different to making brioche doughnuts, in that the dough is much sweeter and softer than brioche, which results in the softest, most pillowy doughnuts. It uses evaporated milk, which only adds to the amazing flavour. I’m totally obsessed with the texture. Alana’s recipe includes a pastry cream filling, spiked with Liliko’i juice, which is tart and flavourful, and goes perfectly with the sugar rolled doughnuts. These would be perfect for a party, or for feeding a crowd, or for whenever you feel the need to make some incredible doughnuts.

A few wee tips:

  • I made both the dough for the Malasadas and the pastry cream the night before, giving the dough an overnight rest for it’s first rise in the fridge, and giving the pastry cream time to chill completely. Splitting up the process like this makes it super manageable.

  • The dough for the Malasadas is much wetter and softer than standard brioche dough - don’t freak out (I did, a classic me move)! Just keep kneading in the mixer - it will smooth out and become beautiful and super stretchy. You’re looking for it to pull away from the sides.

  • This recipe makes 20-24 doughnuts, which is lots if there aren’t too many of you. I am sure that it can be easily halved!

  • If you’re in NZ, Bread flour is the same as high grade :)

 

 

Malasadas with Liliko'i (Passionfruit) Pastry Cream Filling

- Makes 20-24 -

Reprinted with permission from Aloha Kitchen

Malasada Dough
3/4 cup (180g) Whole milk, warmed to 110°f / 45°c
3/4 cup (180g) Evaporated milk, warmed to 110°f / 45°c
3 Tbsp (45g) Unsalted butter, melted
Two 0.25 packages active dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp total)
1 Tsp Sugar, plus 3/4 cup (150g) and more for dusting
3 large eggs
4 cups (600g) bread flour
3/4 tsp kosher salt
Neutral Oil, for frying

Liliko’i Pastry Cream
3/4 cup (150g) Sugar
2 cups (480g) Whole Milk
6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/4 cup (31g) Cornstarch
Pinch of Kosher salt
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120g) Liliko’i (passionfruit) Juice

 

- PROCESS -

MALASADA DOUGH

In a bowl, combine both milks, the butter, yeast, and 1 tsp sugar and whisk together. Let the mixture sit until the yeast is activated and foamy, about 10 minutes

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and the remaining 3/4 cup (150g) sugar together on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Turn the speed to low and incorporate the flour and the milk mixture in four additions, alternating between wet and dry ingredients. Add the salt and switch to the dough hook. Gradually turn the speed up to medium-high and knead the dough until it’s smooth and pulls away from the sides of the bowl, 5 to 10 minutes. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and quickly grease the mixer bowl with butter. Transfer the dough back to the bowl, loosely cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and set in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

Lightly grease a large piece of parchment (I used two parchment lined baking sheets) and set aside. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/2” thick. Using a 3 inch biscuit cutter or 3 inch glass bowl, cut out as many rounds as you can, gathering and reusing the scraps. You should be able to make 20 to 24 rounds. Place them on the greased parchment paper, spacing them 3 inches apart. Cover the rounds with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Fill a shallow bowl with some sugar and set aside. Fill a wide Dutch Oven or other pot with 2 inches of oil. Heat the pot over medium heat until the oil registers 350°f / 180°c. Alternatively, a deep fryer can be used. Using scissors, cut the greased parchment paper so that each malasada is on its own square. Working in batches, place the malasadas in the oil, paper side up, using tongs to peel off and discard the paper. Cook, flipping once, until puffed and golden, 2 to 3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a wire rack set on a baking sheet; let cool for 5 minutes, then toss with the sugar.

 

PASTRY CREAM

In a saucepan, combine 1/4 cup (50g) of the sugar and the milk and heat over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, until it begins to steam. Immediately remove the pan from the heat. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup (150g) sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, and salt together until smooth. Slowly ladle about 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking the entire time. Pour the tempered yolk mixture back into the saucepan and cook, whisking continuously, until thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in the butter, vanilla, and liliko’i juice; continue to whisk until smooth. Pour into a medium glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly touching the surface of the pastry cream. Set in a large bowl filled with ice water to cool. Alternatively, place in an airtight container with a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface, and chill overnight.

ASSEMBLY

Using a paring knife, cut a slit on one side into the middle of the malasadas. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium round tip halfway full with pastry cream. Pipe about 2 Tbsp of the filling into the slit in the malasada. Refill the pastry bag when it runs low.

Serve immediately, as malasadas are best fresh. Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in a ziplock bag for up to 24 hours.

Malasadas with Liliko'i (Passionfruit) Pastry Cream Filling from Alana Kysar's new book, Aloha Kitchen. Malasadas are Portuguese style doughnuts, which are soft and fluffy. They are fried off, then rolled in sugar, then filled with a silky liliko'i pastry cream. These are the perfect indulgent treat, and are super easy to make. #malasadas #doughnuts #lilikoi #passionfruit

Aloha Kitchen is Copyright Alana Kysar 2019, and was Published in 2019 by Ten Speed Press.

Brioche Doughnuts with Tahini Chocolate Pastry Cream and Halva


 
Brioche doughnuts filled with chocolate tahini pastry cream and topped with Halva
Brioche doughnuts filled with chocolate tahini pastry cream and topped with Halva
Brioche doughnuts filled with chocolate tahini pastry cream and topped with Halva
Brioche doughnuts filled with chocolate tahini pastry cream and topped with Halva
Brioche doughnuts filled with chocolate tahini pastry cream and topped with Halva
Brioche doughnuts filled with chocolate tahini pastry cream and topped with Halva

Hoooooly crap. The last few days / weeks / months have been ridic. I feel like I can only every now and then manage to get my head above water to take a big breath. We have been working on some SUPER exciting things at the studio which I can't wait to share with you very soon! I spent the last few days running around town with the team from Bake from scratch and the lovely Edd aka The boy who bakes. They were on a promo tour for the latest issue of the magazine, which is all about British cooking! Seeing as they didn't have a kitchen, I did all the food for the shoots - lots of scones, two 'chocolate biscuit cakes' which were very stressful but thankfully turned out pretty on the inside, and an amazingly delicious chocolate passionfruit bundt cake. I always have the best, best time when they are in town. 

I made these wee guys a week or so ago. I had breakfast with my lovely friend Rachel of Seed and Mill, and she sent me home with some of their amazing products - the best tahini ever, and a wee package of Halva! If you haven't had halva before, you should try some ASAP - it's made by adding tahini to a sugar syrup and then mixing until it crystalizes. Different flavours are then added. If you are ever in NYC make sure you stop by Seed and Mill at Chelsea Market - their soft serve is one of my fave things ever. 

I have been meaning to incorporate tahini into a dessert / baked good ever since these cookies, and so here you go! I took my fave brioche recipe, and turned it into doughnuts, then loaded them up with a pastry cream that I gussied up with some dark chocolate and tahini. Tahini and chocolate are great friends - the chocolate really plays on the nuttiness of the tahini, and stirred into a pastry cream is always going to be a good time. I rolled the freshly fried doughnuts in a cocoa sugar mix which tastes like that shitty chocolate icing your mum made as a kid, before filling them with the pastry cream and topping with a chunk of halva. If you're going to do decadent, you might as well do it properly. 

A few wee tips:

  • If you can, make the pastry cream the night before or a few hours before you start, so that it has time to cool in the fridge. If not, and you're in a time pinch, no worries - just line a shallow baking sheet (I usually use a quarter sheet) with plastic wrap, spread the cream in, then put another piece of plastic wrap on top, and leave it to cool in the fridge, giving it 5 minute blasts in the freezer occasionally if needed. More surface area = quicker cooling time!

  • If you can't find Halva, you can definitely leave it out! I just used it as a wee topping.

  • The first rise for these can be done overnight in the fridge - they may just need a little more time on their second rise once you have shaped them.

 

 

Brioche Doughnuts with Tahini Chocolate Pastry Cream and Halva

- Makes about 12 -

Pastry Cream adapted from The Cook and Baker

Tahini Chocolate Pastry Cream
650g Whole milk
1 Tbsp vanilla bean paste, or the scrapings of one vanilla bean
1/4 tsp salt
70g corn starch
110g granulated sugar
2 eggs plus one yolk
60g unsalted butter, at room temp, cut into cubes
80g dark chocolate, finely chopped
150g tahini

Brioche Doughnuts
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp) active dry yeast
1 cup (240ml) whole milk, lukewarm
4 Tbsp sugar
3 3/4 cups (565g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
90g (6 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g Sugar plus 1 Tbsp cocoa, for rolling
Neutral oil, for frying

About 150g halva, for finishing (optional)

 

 

- PROCESS -

 

TAHINI PASTRY CREAM 

In a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla bean paste and salt. Heat over medium low until bubbles begin to form around the outside of the milk, and it is just shy of a simmer. 

While the milk is heating, whisk together the corn starch and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the eggs and yolk, and whisk well until pale. 

Once the milk has heated, remove from the heat and pour half into the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Mix until well combined. Transfer back into the milk saucepan, and place over a low to medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream is very thick, approximately 8-10 minutes. 

Set up a sieve over a clean bowl. Once the pastry cream is thick, pass through the sieve into the bowl. Stir in the butter and chocolate, and mix until well incorporated. Add the tahini, and mix to combine. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream, and refrigerate until completely chilled. If you need to speed this process up, line a sheet pan or shallow tray with plastic wrap and spread the pastry cream over it to speed up the chilling process.

 

BRIOCHE DOUGHNUTS

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk and 2 Tbsp of the sugar. Mix well, and leave to sit for 10-15 minutes, or until foamy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Mix briefly to combine. Add the eggs, vanilla, and foamy yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes, until the dough is starting to come together. It may look slightly dry but do not worry - it will mix together nicely in the next steps. Increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for another 10 minutes, until the dough is soft and smooth.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece. This process should take 3-4 minutes. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium, and mix for a further 5 minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot until doubled in size, approximately 1 - 1 1/2 hours.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Weigh, and divide into 12 equal weight portions. Roll each portion into a tight ball. Place the rolled 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 165˚c / 330˚f. Combine the sugar and cocoa powder, and place in a shallow bowl for tossing the doughnuts.

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 2 1/2 to 3 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 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.

ASSEMBLY

Transfer the pastry cream to a piping bag fitted with a round piping tip. Fill each doughnut with pastry cream - you will feel it become heavier in your hand. Pipe a little blob on top of each doughnut, and top with a chunk of halva. 

Best, served on the day that they are made.

Brioche doughnuts filled with chocolate tahini pastry cream and topped with Halva