I fell off the wagon guys. The healthy eating wagon, that is.
Remember the amazing summer’s harvest egg white frittata I whipped up this week? Well, all those egg whites meant leftover egg yolks. Lots of them, because I actually made the frittata a second time for my family.
What do you do with over a dozen egg yolks? Nothing healthy, let me tell you.
My first thought was creme brulee, but I didn’t have any of the equipment to do it right, so that was out. Custard though, that I could do. As much as I love a good custard, I thought eating that much straight out of a bowl was a little too much. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I would totally do it, but with that many egg yolks, I was going to have a lot of custard. Enough to fill a dozen or so pastries, actually.
See where I’m going with this yet?
I’ve tried choux pastries before, and I have to say they’re some of my favorite desserts. I love that choux pastry dough is so versatile too! But I was feeling something a little softer, a little chewier.
Heck, I was already jumping off the bandwagon, why not go all the way and make it a fried dessert?
I missed the State Fair this year, which means I missed out on all of the deep fried foods at the fair. Of course I had to make up for that. So, custard plus fried pastry equals…
That’s right. Donuts. Custard filled donuts.
I’ve never tried my hand at donuts before, mostly because hot oil freaks me out a little bit. I think my biggest kitchen fear is an oil fire, so I just avoid tempting fate by “shallow” frying, or baking instead, if that’s an option. And it isn’t, really, with donuts. First hurdle.
Second hurdle: dough. Making dough by hand is a finicky business, and one I have little talent or patience for. I have a weakness for bread, so in the past I always found a way to make it work. I got a bread machine for Christmas last year though, eliminating the annoying business of handmade dough! And I haven’t used it once. It’s almost October, and my bread machine was still wrapped in the plastic packaging. What better time to break it in?
Don’t worry if you don’t have a bread machine. This dough is totally doable without one! There’s a little extra kneading involved, but just think of the reward!
Third hurdle: the filling. Custard is finicky too, requiring constant stirring at an even temperature until it thickens. Using my leftover egg yolks, I patiently heated milk, sugar and the eggs for 20+ minutes, stirring with a rubber spatula the entire time. Everything was going great! Until my eggs burned and my smooth custard turned into a lumpy, scrambled-eggy mess. Ugh. It probably would have been fine as a doughnut filling, but my kitchen OCD kicked in and I just couldn’t do it. So I made a light and fluffy whipped cream filling instead.
This whipped filling is super easy, and one I’ve made at least five or six times in the last few weeks for a variety of desserts. If you have a hand blender it only takes five minutes or so. If you’ve only got a whisk and elbow-grease (like me) it takes about ten or fifteen and some power jams to push through. Sometimes I cheat, and roll the whisk between my hands like you would if you were rubbing two sticks together to start a fire.
I know, I promised you delicious custard-filled donuts at the start of this post. I solemnly swear to revisit this in the near future and give you a fool-proof recipe for rich and creamy custard. In the mean time, would I ever give you a sub par alternative? Of course not! This whipped filling is light and fluffy, a perfect complement to the chewy texture of the donuts.
Did you know that you can use a wooden spoon to determine whether or not your oil is hot enough for frying? You totally can. I don’t have a deep frying thermometer, and the grocery store was conveniently out of them the day I decided to make donuts, so I found this awesome tip online. Basically, you dip the end of the spoon (the handle end) into the oil. If the oil starts to bubble around the wood, then it’s ready for frying!
Ever wondered why donuts with fillings usually have holes on both sides where the filling was piped in? It’s to make sure the filling makes it all the way to the center, which is more difficult with lighter fillings, like the whipped cream I used in this recipe. No one wants to bite into a wimpy donut with no filling! Try poking a hole with a chopstick or a toothpick before piping in the filling; this will help it get all the way to the center.