BEST Custard Donuts Recipe
Last updated on February 6th, 2023 at 02:59 pm
Custard donuts are pillowy soft and sweet with a silky smooth vanilla custard filling and a crispy sugary coating. They are easy to make with just a little bit of prep time and all you need are basic ingredients you may already have in your kitchen.
If you like this recipe, you will love our Apple Fritters with Maple Glaze made with maple syrup, brown sugar, lemon juice, and fresh apples. They are sweet and juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside with homemade maple glaze. And make breakfast special by making this Croissant French Toast Casserole with croissants baked in custard.
Although donuts were first recorded in a Nuremberg recipe book in 1485, the custard donut took a little bit longer. It was almost 400 years later that Chef Sanzian at the Boston Parker House Hotel invented the custard-filled treat in 1856. He was inspired by and named it after the Boston cream pie, which was made with vanilla cake, custard, and chocolate glaze.
For this yummy custard donuts recipe, all you need are a few basic ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, milk, and butter as well as some yeast, vanilla extract, and two pinches of salt. Even with the resting time, you can finish this entire recipe in a few hours and have your donuts tonight.
Check out some of our other great dessert cuisine recipes. This vanilla French custard bundt cake is soft and silky with a creamy custard texture and coated with a homemade glaze. For something a little different, try our orange creamsicle freezer pie that will remind you of the creamsicles you used to get from the ice cream truck.
To make this delicious custard donut recipe, all you need are the ingredients listed below and a few minutes of your time. Scroll down to our recipe card for complete instructions and exact measurements when you are ready to begin.
- Bread flour
- Large egg: At room temperature.
- Warm milk: We used whole milk.
- Unsalted butter: At room temperature.
- White granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- Instant dry yeast
Custard cream ingredients:
- Egg yolks: At room temperature.
- Unsalted butter
- White granulated sugar
- Kosher salt
- Vanilla essence
How to make custard donuts from scratch?
- Prep the yeast mixture: To begin, whisk the warm milk with the room-temperature egg in a large bowl before adding the instant yeast. Whisk again until dissolved.
- Make donut dough: Then, add sugar, flour, and salt to the wet ingredients. Mix with a spatula until combined and then knead with your hands until you cannot see the flour anymore.
- Knead in the butter: Next, add softened butter and work that in with your hands. Toss the dough and punch it down into the bowl until it is smooth. Place it on a hard surface and knead for two to three minutes.
- Let it rise: After, put the sticky dough ball into a large greased bowl (lightly oiled bowl) and cover it with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place and let it rise until it is about two to three times its original size.
- Start the pastry cream: In the meantime, mix the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a small bowl and stir well.
- Mix in the milk: Now, heat the butter and milk in a small deep saucepan or heatproof bowl over medium heat until the butter is melted. Pour the melted butter and milk into the egg yolk mixture a little at a time until you have used all the milk. Then add the vanilla extract and flour and stir well.
- Whisking constantly: Next, pour that mixture back into the pot until it reaches 220 degrees F with a candy thermometer on low heat. Whisk constantly until it is thick. Remove it from the heat, pour it into a mixing bowl, and let it chill in the fridge for a few hours.
- Let them rest: While it chills, punch the dough down and then place it on a lightly floured surface. Fold it in to remove the air bubbles. Divide donut dough into eight pieces and shape them into balls before placing them on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Cover them with plastic wrap and let them rest for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Deep frying donuts: Then, fry rounds in a pan of hot oil (350 degrees F), cooking over low to medium heat. Flip them when they are brown. Remove them with a wooden spoon when they are golden brown on both sides, placing them on a wire rack to cool.
- Cool fried donuts: After the donuts cool completely, poke a hole that you will fill with custard and then roll them in a bowl with sugar in it until they are covered. Use any remaining sugar to sprinkle on top after they are finished.
- Fill the donuts: Lastly, scoop the custard into a piping bag and fill each donut completely until you have just a little ball of custard on the top.
- Serve: Finally, serve filled donuts with a glass of ice-cold milk or hot coffee.
- Any oil: You can use any frying oil you like such as vegetable oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, or whatever you prefer.
- Different milk: Similarly, use any milk you prefer such as almond milk or soy milk.
- Chocolate topping: Add a chocolate glaze on top instead of sugar for those who love chocolate.
- More vanilla flavor: For more vanilla flavor, use scraped vanilla pod or vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract.
- Baking powder: Add one teaspoon of baking powder to your dough for extra fluffiness.
- Lemon juice: Adding 1/4 teaspoon of lemon juice to your custard filling will give it more flavor.
- Any flour: This recipe will work with all-purpose flour as well but bread flour is softer.
How to serve:
You can make these ahead of time and serve for breakfast or make them right now and serve them as a dessert or a snack. No matter how or when you eat them, they will be delicious. Try one of these great serving ideas or share your own in the comments section below.
- Feel free to use fruit preserves or jam instead of custard cream.
- You can use powdered sugar or caster sugar instead of granulated sugar on the outside of the donut.
- Try these yummy donuts with a cup of our delicious homemade hot chocolate.
- Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a more filling dessert.
- Add a dollop of this ooey-gooey caramel sauce on top for extra richness.
- Make these festive by adding some rainbow sprinkles.
- These donuts also go great with a spoonful of fruit preserves on top. Try our sweet and tangy strawberry sauce recipe.
Frequently asked questions
What are some other names for these donuts?
There are many different names for these yummy treats go by. For example, they are referred to as custard doughnuts in some areas of the world. You may also see them called Boston cream donuts or Bavarian cream donuts. They may also be referred to as stuffed donuts or pudding-filled donuts.
How do you make the chocolate glaze?
To make the chocolate glaze topping, just add 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1 cup powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, and 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract. If the glaze is too sticky, add water or milk. If you want the glaze to be shinier, use 3/4 cup of chocolate chips instead of the cocoa powder and add a teaspoon of coconut oil.
Is it possible to make donuts without yeast?
Yeasted dough is best for any kind of recipe that you want to rise or become light and fluffy. Although using yeast does take a little bit more time, it is well worth it when you taste the results. And it is not more work since most of the time is waiting so you could be doing something else like binge-watching your favorite shows.
What are the nutrition facts in this recipe?
If you are worried about nutrition, calories, and sugar, remember these are donuts. They are not supposed to be healthy! Each donut has 448 calories, 184 mg cholesterol, and 18 grams fat with 10 grams saturated fat. It also has 61 grams carbohydrates, 291 mg sodium, and 24 grams sugar. But you also get 10 grams protein, 213 mg potassium, 1 gram fiber, 143 mg calcium, 791 units vitamin A, and 3 mg iron.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: You can store your leftover custard donuts in an airtight container. They will stay fresh in the fridge for up to four days.
- Freeze: Freezing is not recommended.
More dessert recipes you should try:
- You do not want hot milk. It should be about 110 to 115 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
- Instead of kneading by hand, you can use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.
- Place paper towels below a wire rack to catch the oil drips. Don’t put fried doughnuts on paper towels to drain or they will be soggy.
- Another way to cut the rounds is to roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is about 1/2 inch thick and use a round cookie or biscuit cutter to make a 14-inch diameter circle.
- If you do not have a piping bag, you can use a ziplock baggie and just snip off the tip.
- To tell if your pastry cream is ready, see if it coats the back of a spoon.
- For a richer flavor, let your custard chill overnight in an air-tight container.
- To prevent getting finger dents in your donuts when frying them, cut the parchment paper into squares and use the corner of the paper to pick it up and slide it into the oil.
- Instead of baking sheets, you can use a large platter covered with parchment paper.
- You can make your sugar finer and keep it from clumping by adding 1/4 cup of cornstarch.
- 2 1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 large egg (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons milk (warm)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 envelope Instant Yeast (7 grams)
- 3 egg yolks (room temperature)
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, whisk the warm milk with the room-temperature egg, once combined add the instant yeast. Whisk fully until dissolved.
- Then, add sugar, flour, and salt to the yeast mixture. Use a spatula to mix until combined and after that knead with your hands until all flour has been incorporated.
- Next, add the softened butter and work it in with your hands until the dough is smooth.
- Transfer the dough onto a flat, lightly floured surface and knead for two to three minutes.
- After that, transfer the sticky dough ball into a large lightly oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Place it in a warm place and let it rise for a few hours until it is about two to three times its starting size.
- In the meantime, in a small bowl whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt until combined.
- In a small saucepan, heat the butter and milk over medium heat until the butter is fully melted.
- Next, slowly and while stirring constantly, pour the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Do this a little at a time until all the milk has been combined.
- After that, stir in the vanilla extract.
- Stir in the flour until fully combined.
- Next, transfer the mixture back into the saucepan and cook while stirring on low heat until it reaches 220 degrees F measured with a candy thermometer. Make sure to whisk constantly until it is thick.
- Remove it from the heat, scoop it into a mixing bowl, cover it with plastic wrap, right on top of the cream (so it touches it), and let it chill in the fridge for a few hours.
Shape the donuts:
- In the meantime, punch the dough and then transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Fold it a few times and divide it into eight equal pieces.
- Shape each piece into a ball and place it on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining pieces. Make sure they are not too close to each other on the baking sheet. Cover them with plastic wrap and let them rest for 30 to 40 minutes.
Deep frying donuts:
- Place a large, deep pan with about 1 1/2 - 2 inches of oil over low-medium heat. Bring the oil to 350 degrees F. Add a few donuts at a time and fry them for 1-2 minutes on one side, or until golden brown. Flip and repeat.
- Remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a wire rack to cool.
- After the donuts have cool completely, poke a hole, using a long rounded object, like a chopstick. Place a bowl with about one cup of sugar next to you. Then roll them in sugar until covered on both sides.
- Transfer the pastry cream into a pipping bag, cut a small hole at the end and fill the donuts with custard until you have just a little ball of custard on the surface.
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