Crème Brûlée Doughnuts Recipe

Fluffy, brioche doughnuts are filled with vanilla pastry cream and topped with caramelized sugar in this indulgent doughnut recipe.

Makes 20
Prep time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total time: 1 day


for the pastry cream:
5 tablespoons|60 grams cornstarch
12 large egg yolks
2 vanilla beans, seeds scraped
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons|200 grams granulated sugar 
4 cups|1000 grams whole milk
21 tablespoons|300 grams unsalted butter, cubed

for the doughnuts:
1 ¼ cups|300 grams whole milk
3 tablespoons|30 grams active dry yeast 
9 cups|1200 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
10 large eggs
1 pound|454 grams unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for greasing
¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons|200 grams plus 5 teaspoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons kosher salt
vegetable oil, for frying



  1. Make the pastry cream: In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, egg yolks, and vanilla seeds. In a large saucepan, bring the milk and sugar to a simmer. While stirring constantly, slowly whisk in about ½ cup|125 ml of the milk mixture into the cornstarch mixture, then whisk it back into the saucepan. Continue whisking until thick, about 5 minutes, then stir in the butter, one knob at a time, until melted and incorporated. Strain, then cover the surface directly with plastic wrap. Cool completely and refrigerate until ready to use. 
  2. Make the doughnuts: Heat the milk to 115°F, then transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment with the yeast. Let bloom for 10 minutes, then add the flour. Mix for 5 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Once the eggs are all in, add the butter, one knob at a time, until well incorporated. Add ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons|200 grams sugar plus the salt and mix 5 minutes longer. 
  3. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next day on a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 18-inch circle about ½-inch thick. Using a 3 ¾-inch round cutter, cut 20 doughnuts. Transfer to parchment paper-lined baking sheets, leaving 2 inches between each doughnut. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and set in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
  5. Heat 2-inches oil in a large saucepan until a deep-fry thermometer reads 350°F. Using scissors, cut the doughnuts out of the parchment paper, leaving about 1-inch of paper around the sides of each doughnut (the paper makes it easier to transfer them to frying oil). Working in batches, place doughnuts in the oil, paper side up. Using tongs, peel off and discard the parchment paper. Cook, flipping once until puffed and golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a baking sheet fitted with a wire rack to cool slightly.
  6. Fill the doughnuts: Using a skewer, make a hole in one side of the doughnut. Wiggle it in there to make a little hole that you can fill. Working with one donut at a time, pipe custard into each donut. 
  7. Heat the oven to broil. Sprinkle each doughnut generously with ⅛ teaspoon sugar. Broil until the sugar has melted, about 30 seconds. Dust each doughnut with another ⅛ teaspoon sugar and broil until just melted, about 10 seconds longer. Cool completely. Crack into them and enjoy!

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