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Recipe  •  13 August 2023


Boston cream pie donuts

Mouth-watering decadent donuts that you can make from scratch.

Summers as a kid were spent in America with my mum’s family, just outside of Boston. Donuts were a breakfast staple, and there would always be a Boston cream pie in the box.

Makes: 14 donuts


For the donut dough:

  • 500g all-purpose/plain flour, plus more for flouring
  • 50g granulated/caster sugar
  • 10g sea salt
  • 7g instant dry yeast
  • 50g unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 275g whole milk, room temperature
  • 2g lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 120g eggs, room temperature
  • Neutral/vegetable oil, for coating

For the brown sugar crème pâtissierè:

  • 2 fresh vanilla pods
  • 720g whole milk
  • 215g egg yolks
  • 110g light brown sugar
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 65g cornstarch/corn flour
  • 70g unsalted butter, cold and cubed

For the dark chocolate glaze:

  • 300g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
  • 30g water
  • 35g honey
  • 90g unsalted butter



  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, sugar, salt, yeast, and butter. Start mixing on low speed.
  2. In a tall measuring cup/jug, whisk together the milk, lemon, vanilla, and eggs.
  3. With the mixer on medium-low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients. Keep mixing just until there are no more dry ingredients and everything has been fully incorporated. You may need to pause to scrape down the bowl a few times to ensure all the dry bits on the bottom get fully incorporated.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Return the bowl to the mixer and knead on medium for 12–15 minutes.Very lightly flour your fingertips and grab a small piece of dough. Stretch this out gently, and if the dough forms a “windowpane,” this means the dough is ready and enough gluten has been developed. The dough should appear smooth and elastic.
  6. Use a bench scraper to transfer the dough to a very lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour your hands and shape the dough into a ball. Carefully transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl.
  7. Spray the top of the dough with nonstick cooking spray and then cover the bowl with plastic wrap/cling film. Refrigerate the dough for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight. Because the dough is enriched, it will be much easier to work with after refrigeration.

  8. While the dough is chilling overnight, start the Brown Sugar Crème Pâtissierè. Take the vanilla beans and cut them lengthwise. Scrape the seeds out of the center with a knife, and add these to a medium saucepan along with the milk. Place it over medium heat, until it is steaming, but not boiling.
  9. While that heats up, add the egg yolks, sugar, salt, and cornstarch to a medium bowl. Whisk this for one minute until thick.
  10. Once the milk is hot, slowly pour this over the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour it all back into the pan, keep it over medium heat, and whisk continuously until it begins to thicken. Once the mixture starts to bubble, cook for a further minute, then remove it from the heat and immediately pass it through a fine-mesh sieve on top of a clean bowl.
  11. Press the mixture through with a spatula, then add in the butter and whisk until there are no more lumps.
  12. Place plastic wrap/cling film directly on the surface and refrigerate overnight (or a minimum of 4 hours).

  13. Once the donut dough is ready, spray two large baking trays with nonstick cooking spray. Cut 14 pieces of parchment paper into squares measuring 3 × 3 inches (8 × 8cm). Place these on the trays and spray them with nonstick cooking spray.
  14. Place the dough on your work surface. Use a bench scraper to cut the dough into 65g pieces, then shape these into tight balls. To do this, very lightly flour your hands, but don’t add much—if any at all—to the work surface. Shape your hand into a “C” and form a cup around the dough ball. Quickly rotate the dough underneath your hand to form a tight ball.
  15. Place the balls on the parchment squares and spray the tops of the balls with nonstick cooking spray. Gently press the balls down to flatten them into a disk shape.
  16. Cover the balls with plastic wrap/cling film and allow them to proof at room temperature. The proofing time is crucial because this is the key to getting that perfect white ring around the middle of the donuts. You’re looking for the balls to almost triple in size (about 3 inches [8cm] wide by the time they’re proofed). Depending on the room’s temperature, this can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours—or longer if it’s cold—so keep an eye on them.
  17. Heat the oil to 340°F/170°C in a deep fryer (or in a large pot). I like to fry a test donut to see if the dough has properly proofed. Carefully place a dough ball in the fryer and gently peel off the parchment paper. Fry the donut for 90 seconds, flip, fry for 90 seconds, flip, fry for 30 seconds, flip, and fry for 30 seconds, for a total of 4 minutes.
  18. Transfer the donut to a rack. If the dough has properly proofed, you should see a nice white band along the center of the donut. When you cut into the donut, it will have a fluffy center. If the donut has no ring and feels dense, continue proofing the remaining dough balls.
  19. If you’re happy with the proofing, continue frying the remaining dough balls. Depending on the size of your fryer, it is best to do these in batches of 1–3, to avoid the temperature of the oil dropping.

  20. When the donuts have cooled slightly, remove the crème pâtissierè from the fridge and whisk to loosen it, so that it is nice and smooth. Add this into a piping bag, fitted with a round tip nozzle.
  21. Pierce the side of a donut with a chopstick, and then place the piping nozzle inside. Squeeze the piping bag, filling the donut with the crème pâtissierè until it feels heavy. Repeat this with the remaining donuts.
  22. For the chocolate glaze, add all of the ingredients into a medium bowl. Place it over a pan of gently simmering water, and stir together until completely melted.
  23. Once melted, let it cool for a minute, until it is roughly 86°F/30°C andthen take the donuts and dunk the top into the chocolate glaze.12. Let any excess drip off, then quickly

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