Custard Donuts

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  • 75ml lukewarm water
  • 250g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust
  • 30g caster sugar, plus extra to coat
  • 5g salt
  • 7g fresh yeast, crumbled (from Ocado, delis or bakeries)
  • 2 medium free-range eggs
  • Finely grated zest ¼ lemon
  • 65g unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 litres sunflower oil for deep-frying
  • Custard:
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 ½ tbsp cornstarch (cornflour)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste / extract / 1 vanilla bean pod
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter softened


  1. Put all the dough ingredients, except the butter and oil, into an electric mixer (or see food team’s tips). Using the dough hook, mix on medium speed for 8 minutes or until the dough starts to come away from the bowl and forms a ball. Rest the dough for 1 minute, then mix the butter into the dough, about 25g at a time. Once it’s all incorporated, mix on high speed for 5 minutes or until the dough is elastic when pulled.
  2. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for 3-4 hours or until doubled in size.
  3. Cut the dough into 10 x 50g pieces. Roll into taut balls and put on a floured baking tray, leaving room for expansion. Cover lightly with cling film and leave to prove for 1-2 hours or until doubled in size.
  4. Meanwhile, make the custard. Add the vanilla with the milk into a saucepan. Heat the milk over medium high heat and bring it to a simmer, almost to a boil.
  5. While the milk is being heated, place the sugar, egg and yolks, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Whisk until you have a thick, smooth mix and set aside until the milk comes to a boil.
  6. As soon as the milk starts to bubble, remove it from the heat. Slowly pour about a half of the hot milk in a thin stream, into the egg mix, while whisking continuously to temper the egg mix. When the eggs have been tempered, add the egg mix back into the hot milk in the saucepan.
  7. Heat the custard base, over medium heat, while until it starts to thicken.
  8. While whisking, let the custard come to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the butter. Whisk in the butter, until it’s completely mixed in.
  9. Pour the custard into a bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the whole surface. This is to prevent a custard skin from forming on top.
  10. Let the custard cool down to room temperature and then let it chill in the fridge until it’s completely chilled.
  11. To fry the doughnuts, half-fill a large heavy-based pan with sunflower oil and put over a medium-high heat until it reaches 180°C on a digital thermometer.
  12. To lift each risen doughnut from the tray, slide a floured pastry scraper underneath, taking care not to deflate the dough, then lower into the oil. Cook 2-3 per batch – don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry for 2 minutes on each side or until golden. The doughnuts will puff up and float. Remove from the oil, drain on kitchen paper, then toss in caster sugar. Repeat with the rest of the doughnuts, then set aside.
  13. To fill each doughnut, make a hole in side with a skewer. Fit a nozzle to a piping bag, fill with custard, then pipe into each doughnut until swollen. Continue until there’s a blob as wide as a 50p coin over the hole. Eat immediately. Enjoy!

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