The very first brioche doughnut I ever ate was in London. Soon after I moved there, I knew I had to get my hands on the internet-famous doughnuts from Bread Ahead Bakery at Borough Market. And they are, to this day, the best doughnuts I have ever eaten.
These doughnuts are not as perfect, but are pretty fabulous in their own way. Pillowy and light, with a soft, airy inside and filled with the most delicious lemon curd.
*This recipe makes 10-13 doughnuts (using a 2 inch cutter)
For the lemon curd:
- 2 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 90 g castor sugar
- juice of 1 lemon
- zest of 1/4 lemon
- 60 g butter, cold and cut into cubes
- The lemon curd should ideally be made the day before you want to assemble your doughnuts so it can firm up to a pipe-able consistency .
- In a heat-proof bowl, add the egg yolks and sugar and whisk for 2 minutes until pale. Add in the lemon juice and zest and whisk to combine.
- Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. The water should be at a light simmer, and not at a heavy boil.
- Whisk every 2 minutes, until the curd thickens up to the consistency of whipped cream. It will take about 20 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add in the butter, a cube at a time. Mix after every addition.
- Cover the surface of the lemon curd with plastic wrap (making sure the wrap touches the surface of the curd) and place in the refrigerator to chill completely, for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- When you want to assemble the doughnuts, transfer the lemon curd into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Place the piping bag in the refrigerator until ready to use.
For the doughnuts:
- 4 g instant yeast hydrated with 1/8 cup of warm water
- 75 g water
- 250 g flour
- 30 g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 65 g softened unsalted butter, cubed
- Mix the yeast with the warm water, and let the foam double in size.
- To make the brioche dough, mix the flour, sugar, water, activated yeast, lemon zest, vanilla, salt and eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until it’s all combined. Then turn up the speed to medium high and let it run for about 5 minutes, or until the dough starts coming away from the sides and forms a ball.
- Slowly add the butter to the dough, a spoonful at a time. Once the butter is incorporated, mix on high speed for 5 minutes until the dough is glossy, smooth and very elastic when pulled.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to proof in the bowl until it has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Punch down the dough, cover it and place in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, take the dough out of the fridge tip the sough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rough shape with 1 inch thickness. Using a 2 inch round cutter, cut as many doughnuts as you can. Re-roll and cut using the scraps. Place on a floured baking tray, leaving plenty of room for them – so they don’t stick together while they proof. Cover lightly with a towel and leave at room temperature for 20 minutes.
To fry and assemble:
- 300 ml vegetable oil
- 70 g castor sugar, for tossing
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- Fry the donuts! Place the oil into a large heavy-bottomed pan set over medium-low heat. I didn’t use a thermometer, but the oil should ideally be between 175-180 degrees.
- While the oil comes to temperature, add castor sugar and lemon zest to a bowl and run the zest into the sugar until it smells lemony. Set aside. Line a baking tray with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- Once at temperature, fry the doughnuts. Don’t overcrowd the fryer – do two to three per batch, depending on the size of your pan. Place on paper towel and then toss in sugar while doughnuts are still warm.
- Once done frying and coating, use a sharp knife to make a small hole into the sides of the doughnuts. Remove the lemon curd from the refrigerator.
- Pipe the cream into the hole, making sure that a bit of it oozes out the top of the doughnut.