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Crème Brûlée Doughnuts

Prep Time50 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting time12 hrs
Total Time13 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 15 doughnuts


For the brioche dough:

  • cup milk scalded
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter room temperature
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • canola oil for frying

For the vanilla bean custard:

  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups milk
  • teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons butter

For the doughnut assembly:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • cup milk
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar


For the brioche dough:

  • In a bowl fitted for a stand-mixer, add warmed milk, flour, yeast, salt, sugar, water, and eggs. Attach dough hook and mix ingredients on low for 2 minutes until all the ingredients are combined, scrapping down the sides, as needed, to incorporate all the ingredients. Once incorporated, continue mixing for another 2-3 minutes until the dough smooths out.
  • Cut butter into 7 pieces. Add one piece of butter to dough and mix on low until completely incorporated into dough. Repeat with remaining pieces of butter, 1 piece at a time. Once all butter is added, continue to mix on low for another 5 minutes. It is important for all the butter to be thoroughly mixed into the dough. If the mixture is too loose, add more flour a couple tablespoons at a time until it slightly separates from the bowl.
  • Put the dough in a large bowl or plastic container and cover it with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly onto the surface of the dough to prevent it from drying out. Let the dough proof in the refrigerator overnight (16 hours max).
  • The next morning, prepare a baking sheet by dusting with flour. Set aside. Unwrap the dough and place onto floured surface. Roll out the dough until it's about 1/2 inch thick. Cut out doughnuts with a round cookie cutter about 3 inches in diameter and place onto floured baking sheet. Combine scraps and rolls it out again and cut out more doughnuts until all the dough is used.
  • Cover doughnuts with plastic wrap and place in a draft-free place to proof for 1.5 hours.
  • When there's 15 minutes left of proofing time, add oil to a dutch oven and heat over medium heat until the temp reaches 360 degrees. use a candy thermometer to monitor the temp because it's super important.
  • Once the oil is hot, add 3-4 doughnuts to the oven and cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook for 2 more minutes. The outside will get super brown but I promise they are not burning. Remove doughnuts and place on paper towels to drain off the extra oil. You can double-check if they're done cooking by using a thermometer. Make sure the center has reached 190 degrees. If not, place back in oil to cook a little more. Repeat with the rest of the doughnuts.

For the vanilla bean custard:

  • Whisk egg yolks, egg, cornstarch, and ¼ cup granulated sugar to a medium bowl and whisk together until combined. Set aside.
  • In a medium/large sauce pan, add milk, salt, and remaining ¼ cup sugar. Mix together and place over medium heat until milk is scalding. Turn off heat. Gently pour 1/4 cup of hot milk into egg mixture as you whisk the egg mixture. Slowly pour the rest of the milk into the egg mixture and whisk together. Pour back into the saucepan and place back over medium heat. Whisk continuously until the mixture starts to thicken. Once it starts to thicken, turn off heat and whisk vigorously to help the steam escape from the custard.
  • Add vanilla bean paste and butter to the custard and whisk together until both are combined. Push through mesh sieve into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap is touching the custard. Chill until cold, about 2 hours.

For the assembly:

  • Cut a slit into the side of each doughnut. Place custard into a piping bag with a medium round tip. Insert the piping back into the cut slit of each doughnut and squeeze about a tablespoon of custard into each doughnut.
  • Once all the doughnuts are all filled, it's time to dip into icing. Whisk 2 cups powdered sugar and 1/3 cup of milk in a small bowl. Dip both sides of all the doughnuts into the icing, being careful not to let the custard filling drip out. Place iced doughnuts onto a cooling rack to drain off excess icing.
  • Finally, it's time to brulee the tops of the doughnuts. Tap a thin layer of granulated sugar onto the tops of all the doughnuts. Using a blow torch, caramelize the sugar on all the doughnut tops until no grains of sugar remain. Let them cool for 5 minutes and then serve!


Recipe adapted from Sugar Hero