Updated: Aug 17, 2020
Donuts are great, they’re one of the best desserts out there, and the praise for donuts is well deserved. I mean, who doesn’t love a fluffy, soft, and sweet packet of deliciousness? Donuts can be so versatile when it comes to flavors and decorations. We all love a good donut.
But what’s better than a regular donut is a filled donut. And I’m talking custard-filled donuts. I love vanilla, and it can be such an under-appreciated flavor, mainly because it’s surrounded by dominating flavors such as chocolate, coffee, or caramel. The vanilla custard-filled donuts are laid-back, they’re in no way opulent or extravagant. They’re simple, easy to make, and delightful.
Donuts are relatively easy to make, and this recipe for custard-filled donuts is intended to make donut-making less intimidating. You won’t need to put a lot of elbow grease or understand complicated baking methods. This recipe is pretty straightforward, and the result is exceptionally delicious.
I’ve focused more on the dough in this recipe, and for the filling, I’ve used a boxed custard mix. Custard using a boxed mix is quite easy to make, and you or someone in your house has probably done it before.
Moreover, these donuts are healthier. They are baked, not fried. And they’re eggless too!
Therefore, the emphasis in this recipe will be nailing the pillowy softness of a donut. So, let’s see what goes into these filled donuts in detail.
What’s in these vanilla custard-filled donuts?
To me, the dough for donuts lies somewhere between the regular leavened dough and enriched leavened dough. The regular leavened dough is usually just flour, water, yeast, salt, and sugar, whereas an enriched dough has additional ingredients such as butter, eggs, or milk. Brioche is an excellent example of bread made using an enriched dough. Brioche dough has lots of butter and eggs.
Coming back to my dough for these donuts, I think it’s somewhere between because it does call for butter and some yogurt, but the quantities are not very high. Many donut recipes out there call for eggs, but I’ve substituted them with some yogurt. The dough is still as soft, and my donuts always come out super pillowy.
So, this dough has all-purpose flour, instant yeast, water (of course), castor sugar, some salt, yogurt, and butter. The finished dough is very soft and smooth looking, and really elastic.
Usually, when you add butter to the dough and continue kneading for a while, it starts sticking away from the bowl. This dough will do that as well, and even if it sticks to the bowl, an indicator that it’s done is that it will come off the bowl smoothly.
I have used instant yeast, but you can use active-dry yeast if that’s what you have. I prefer blooming my yeast before adding it to the flour for this recipe, so it doesn’t really matter what type of yeast you have in your pantry.
Letting adequate air into your dough is essential because it’s going to result in airy donuts that’ll allow you to fill the inside while not making the donut dense. To fill the donut, I poke a slit on the side with a knife or a skewer. Then, I use a spoon to scoop in the filling.
Let’s talk about the filling now; it is vanilla custard. I don’t really know how to make custard from scratch, and I wanted to stress on perfecting the dough. Hence, I used a boxed custard mix. It’s quite effortless to make, all you need to do is follow the instructions on the back of the box, and you’ll have delicious vanilla custard ready. You can also fill the donuts with chocolate spread, jam, or anything else you want!
I recommend using an electric mixer for this recipe because you have all these ingredients like butter and yogurt, which will be a little messy if you combine them in by hand. Moreover, kneading by hand will take a long, long time, and the machine will knead the dough much better than you can.
Next, to cut the donuts out, I use a steel glass with a thin edge as I don’t have any circle cutters.
Apart from this, the rest of the equipment is pretty standard. Here’s everything you need to make the vanilla custard-filled donuts:
Electric hand/stand mixer
A large container or large mixing bowl
Circle cutter or a steel glass
Sharp, small knife or skewer
The Recipe for Vanilla Custard Filled Donuts
Time: 2 hours
Yields: 7-8 donuts
250 grams (2 cups) all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon instant yeast or active dry yeast
100 grams (6 ½ tablespoons) lukewarm water
45 grams (3 tablespoons) yogurt
40 grams (3 tablespoons) softened butter
55 grams (7 ½ tablespoons) castor sugar
1 teaspoon salt
180 grams (¾ cup) vanilla custard (made from boxed custard mix)
56 grams (¼ cup) melted butter
70 grams (10 tablespoons) icing sugar.
Add the yeast to the lukewarm water and mix it a little. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until you see a foamy layer on top.
To a mixing bowl, add the flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk well until everything is thoroughly incorporated.
Add the bloomed yeast mixture to the flour along with the yogurt. Turn the mixer on to low speed with the dough hook attached. Keep it on until everything is combined and you have a dry-ish looking mass.
Increase the mixer’s speed to medium and add the butter little by little.
Keep working the dough for about 5 minutes after all of the butter has been incorporated.
Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel.
Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Transfer the risen dough to a well-floured surface.
Shape it roughly into a rectangle using your hands and then roll it into a larger rectangle that is about ½ inch thick.
Grease and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
Flour a circle cutter or a steel glass and cut out the shape of donuts. Place the donuts on the prepared baking tray.
Gently form the dough scraps back into a ½ inch rectangle and cut out more donuts.
Cover the baking tray with donuts with a damp kitchen towel and let them proof at room temperature for 30 minutes. Proofed donuts should be puffy and jiggly.
Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Bake the donuts at 190°C for 15 minutes.
Brush the hot donuts with the melted butter and then toss them in some icing sugar.
Let the donuts cool down, and then poke a hole on one side (reaching about halfway in) using a small knife or a skewer.
Fill the donut with about 1½ tablespoon of the vanilla custard and serve.
You can fry the donuts if you’d like to. Pour some neutral-tasting cooking oil in a deep pan and place it on medium-high heat. Fry the donuts in the hot oil for about a minute on each side until they’re golden brown. Then, toss the hot donuts in icing sugar. You won’t need to brush on melted butter as they would already be sticky from the frying oil.