The Sassy Pair

Brioche Donuts with Pumpkin Cream Filling

October 27, 2017 | Pastries

There’s a first time for everything, and I decided to take a stab at fried donuts for the first time this week. I’ve made plenty of baked donuts in the past but always found the process of frying daunting and messy. While the kitchen did end up slightly coated in oil, it was actually a lot of fun and now I may be slightly addicted! However, I don’t think my friends will mind my new obsession much because they devoured this batch and begged for more.

Working with Yeast

If you’ve never worked with yeast before, there are a couple things you should know ahead of time. Yeast is a living organism, so it must be kept alive in order to do its job and allow your dough to rise. Always check the expiration date on the yeast packet before using, and be sure to use liquid that is lukewarm. If the liquid is cold the yeast won’t activate, and if the liquid is too hot then the yeast will die. 

Frying with Oil

Frying dough in oil can also be a bit temperamental. The best way to ensure that your donuts end up nice and fluffy is to use a thermometer to test the temperature of your oil (325-350 degrees F is perfect). If you don’t have one available, throw a pinch of flour in the oil and if it sizzles, it’s hot enough to start frying with. Before placing a full donut into the oil, I recommend using a piece of spare dough to get the hang of how long to fry on each side.

With Halloween around the corner, I chose a pumpkin pastry cream to fill my donuts with, but you can use any flavor you’d prefer! Other options for filling include fruit compote and custards, and this site has 5 great recipes for different choices. Of course, you can always leave your donuts unfilled or opt to frost them instead of coating in sugar. Let us know what you try!


  • For donuts:
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup milk (room temperature)
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 7 tablespoons butter (room temperature)
  • Canola oil (for frying)

  • For filling:
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup whole milk


  • For donuts:
  • In stand mixer stir together yeast and milk, then let sit for about 1 minute to dissolve the yeast.
  • Add the flour, 1/3 cup of the sugar, the salt, and the eggs and mix on low speed with dough hook for about 3 minutes.
  • Add the butter a few tablespoons at a time and continue to mix for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough has come together.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 6 to 12 hours.
  • On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3 1/2- to 4-inch round biscuit cutter, cut out 8-10 doughnuts. Arrange them on well-floured baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm spot to proof for 2 to 3 hours, or until they are about doubled in height.
  • Pour canola oil to a depth of about 2-3 inches into a large saucepan and heat over medium-high heat until hot. To test the oil, throw in a pinch of flour. If it sizzles on contact, the oil is ready. (It should be 325-350 degrees if you are using a thermometer.)
  • Working in batches, place the doughnuts in the hot oil. Fry on the first side for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Gently flip them and fry for another 2 to 3 minutes, or until brown on the second side. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the doughnuts to the paper towel lined tray and let cool for a few minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
  • Place the remaining 1 cup sugar in a small bowl. One at a time, toss the warm doughnuts in the sugar to coat evenly. As each doughnut is coated, return it to the tray to cool completely.
  • When doughnuts are completely cooled, poke a hole in the side of each donut about 3/4 of the way through. Use a piping bag to fill each donut with prepared pastry cream.
  • For filling:
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together 4 large egg yolks, 3 tablespoons cornstarch, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ cup pumpkin puree, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt.
  • Bring 1 cup heavy cream and ½ cup whole milk to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Ladle about ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture and whisk
 to combine. Repeat until the milk is fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth.
  • Return the mixture to the saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Let the custard boil for 1 minute.
  • Strain the custard through fine mesh sieve into the bowl. Let cool slightly, then cover with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic touches the surface of the cream.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.

Donuts are best eaten on the day they are made

Recipe from Epicurious

View more articles written by Britta.

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