Blueberry Cream & Lemon Curd Brioche Donuts
I don’t know why it took me two weeks to make donuts – freaking donuts – but it did. My first try was supposed to be a play on coffee and donuts – Vietnamese-Italian fusion bombolini filled with a Vietnamese coffee-flavored pastry cream. Sounds good in theory, but the ending product was a biscuit-y dough ball filled with lumpy coffee custard. I threw in the towel for the weekend and instead posted a dough compilation on my Instagram (pst it’s @pokethedough).
I didn’t plan on making donuts ever again – because I’m petty like that – but somehow I found myself here. After seeing Cloudy Kitchen’s amazing-looking brioche donuts, I saw it as a sign to give it another try. And so these blueberry and lemon brioche donuts were born~
Instead of Cloudy’s strawberry component, I opted for blueberry instead. Because lemons and blueberries are a classic & killer combination, I decided to make a lemon curd filling as well. You can fill the donuts with both the blueberry filling and the lemon curd if you wanted, but I also wanted a custard donut so I kept those two separate. Who said you can’t have it all?
This recipe is an overnighter; I decided on proofing the overnight because the flavors are supposed to be better and it’s less tiring to break up the process over two days. If you wanted to do it all in one day, you could proof the dough for 1-1/2 to 2 hours in a warm place and make your fillings during that time.
For visual reference (if you’re a visual learner like myself), check out my Instagram highlight for this recipe on my profile @pokethedough
Roasted Blueberry Cream & Lemon Curd Brioche Donuts
Adapted from Cloudy Kitchen
Makes 12 donuts
For the brioche dough:
2-1/4 tsp (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1 cup (250g) lukewarm whole milk
4 tbsp (50g) granulated sugar, divided in half
3-3/4 cup (565g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 tbsp (90g) unsalted butter, room temperature
Neutral oil like canola oil for frying
For the pastry cream:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp corn starch
Tiny pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the lemon curd:
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
2/3 cup (134 g) granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
Pinch of salt
6 tbsp (86g) unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into 6 pieces
For the roasted blueberry filling:
18 oz container (2-1/4 cup, 510g) fresh blueberries, washed
4 tbsp (50g) sugar
Tiny pinch of salt
For the coating sugar:
2 cups (400g) sugar, divided
1 tbsp freeze-dried blueberry powder
Making the brioche dough (Day 1: overnight rise): In a small bowl, combine the yeast, milk, and 2 tbsp of sugar. Mix well and leave for 10-15 minutes until it is foamy.
Mix the flour, salt, and remaining 2 tbsp sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the eggs, vanilla, and yeast mixture to the bowl. Mix on low (Kitchen Aid setting 2) for 2-3 minutes, until the dough starts to come together; it should look crumbly and dry. Increase the mixer speed to medium (setting 5) and mix for another 10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.
Reduce the mixer speed to low again and add the butter a little at a time, waiting until it is fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next piece; the mixture will look separated each time you do this, but it will come together. Once the butter is fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to medium and mix for 5 more minutes, until the dough is very soft and smooth.
Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to rise overnight.
Making the lemon curd (Day 1): Fill a small saucepan with 1 inch of water. Place the small heatproof glass bowl over the saucepan to form a double boiler. Place the double boiler on medium heat and bring the water to a boil. Once it begins to boil, reduce to low heat to keep the water at a simmer.
In the glass bowl of the double boiler, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt. Keep whisking as the curd cooks over the heat. Whisk until the mixture becomes thick, like the texture of hollandaise sauce, about 10 minutes; it should coat the back of the spoon and when you run a finger down, the streak should stay. If it isn’t thickening after 10 minutes, turn up the heat and keep whisking.
Remove the double boiler from the heat. Stir in the pieces of butter; it should melt from the heat of the curd. Pour the lemon curd into a jar or bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, making sure it touches the curd to prevent a skin from forming. The curd will continue to thicken as it cools. Once it cools, the plastic wrap can be removed. Refrigerate until ready to use (leftovers can be kept up to 10 days).
Making the pastry cream (Day 1): Whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a small saucepan. In the measuring cup you used to measure out the milk, whisk together the milk and egg yolks.
Pour the milk mixture into the saucepan along with the butter and whisk together thoroughly over medium heat. Bring to a boil – the cream at this point will noticeably be a lot thicker and there will be bubbles coming up and popping. Let it boil for another minute, still whisking. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, making sure it touches the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to use – leftovers keep for up to 2 days. Just before using, whisk to loosen and smooth out the pastry cream.
Second dough rise (Day 2): Take the dough out of the fridge and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface – the dough should be at least doubled in size. Weigh out the dough and divide into 12 equal-weight portions. Roll each portion into a tight ball of dough. Place the rolled doughnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving some space between (I had to use two baking sheets).
Leave the dough to proof for one hour – it should be soft and fluffy and slightly risen.
Heating the oil & prepping the sugar (Day 2): While the dough is proofing, heat the neutral oil in a large pan or pot to 350F. There should be about 2-3 inches of oil, so the doughnuts don’t touch the bottom of the pan/pot. Place a wire rack on a sheet pan to prep for frying.
For the blueberry donuts, mix together 1 cup of sugar with the blueberry powder in a bowl big enough to swirl around a doughnut. For the lemon donuts, set aside the other cup of sugar in another bowl.
Making the roasted blueberry filling (Day 2): While the dough is proofing, preheat the oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, toss together the blueberries, sugar, and salt. Spread onto a sheet pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the blueberries are bursted and letting out juices. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge until ready to use.
Frying the donuts (Day 2): When the oil has reached 350F, gently lower in a donut – the oil should be shimmering and mildly bubbling around the donut, but not aggressively bubbling and splattering.
Fry 2-3 donuts at a time. Flip the donuts every 30 seconds for 2-4 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on the wire rack lined sheet pan. Cool for 30 seconds before tossing the doughnuts in the sugar – they need to be warm enough for the sugar to stick. Repeat the process with the rest of the doughnuts.
Use a chopstick to poke a hole on the side of the doughnuts while they are still warm. Use your finger to enlarge the hole.
Filling and assembling (Day 2): Pull the pastry cream, blueberry filling, and lemon curd out the fridge. Whisk the pastry cream up to loosen and smooth it out.
Fill three piping bags with the fillings; fit the lemon curd and pastry cream bags with a small round tip and keep the blueberry piping bag as is (the fruit will have a hard time squeezing out of a tip).
For the blueberry cream donuts, fill six of the doughnuts halfway with the blueberry filling. Fill the doughnuts the rest of the way with pastry cream – you should feel a slight push back when the doughnut is full.
For the lemon curd donuts, fill the other six doughnuts all the way with lemon curd.
Serve as soon as possible – leftovers can keep for a day at room temperature but the outside will be slightly soggy and the inside slightly stale.