Coffee Meets Donut

I had a bit of time this week (in consulting speak, we call it being ‘on the beach’) to do some fun things for myself. I caught up with some good friends over wine, and even had the opportunity to volunteer at a Habitat for Humanity build site in San Francisco. I learned how to install fiberglass insulation and managed to complete a whole wall by myself. It’s hard work and the dust and fiberglass particulates are terrible irritants, but the work is so gratifying. And to top off a good week, I had a whole Saturday to myself to take on a donut project, inspired by one of my favorite bloggers Hint of Vanilla.


Coffee Donuts
Source: Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
If you have an early copy of the Bouchon Bakery Cookbook as I do, there are numerous typos and errors that are addressed in the newer edition. One such example is this recipe, where the original butter called for was an erroneous scant 5 grams, when it should be 55 grams. The below reflects the updated version.

518 g all purpose flour
10 g instant dried yeast [subbed with active dry yeast – works the same, but needs more rise time]
74 g granulated sugar
9 g kosher salt
212 g whole milk, at room temp
111 g eggs
3 g vanilla paste [subbed with 1.5 tsp vanilla extract]
55 g unsalted butter, at room temp and cut into small cubes
Canola oil for frying
200 g vanilla sugar, for

Coffee Pastry Cream:
Recipe from Hint of Vanilla
132 g yolk [from about 6 eggs]
110 g granulated sugar
30 g cornstarch [subbed with sweet rice flour which yields a softer, less stiff custard]
550 g whole milk
20 g coffee beans [I used Sightglass beans]
27 g unsalted butter, at room temp and cut into small cubes
2 g vanilla paste [subbed 1 tbs vanilla extract]

Begin the night before you want to serve these donuts. Place the flour and yeast [active dry or instant] in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and quickly pulse a few seconds to mix evenly. Add the sugar, salt, milk, eggs and vanilla and mix on low speed for 4-5 minutes to incorporate. Set a timer and continue to let the stand mixer run for another 30 minutes. The dough will become smoother and less shaggy over time. At the end of the 30 minutes, add the butter a bit at a time, incorporating with each addition. Stop to scrape down the dough as needed.
Remove the dough from the bowl and place onto a floured work surface, adding flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking. With your hands, gently pat the dough into a rectangular shape, and fold up like a letter into thirds. Rotate the dough 90 degrees, and again stretch the dough into a rectangle, and fold the sides up like a letter. Repeat a few times. Place the folded dough into a prepared bowl or large container [I like to use non-stick spray on my large round graduated storage container], with the seam side down. Cover and let sit for at least 2 hours.


After the initial proof, remove the dough and turn it onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently pat the dough into a rectangle and press and large bubbles to the edges. Again, fold the rectangle like a letter, rotate, and repeat. Return the dough to the bowl or container, seam side down, cover and allow to proof overnight. While the Bouchon cookbook recommends refrigerating the dough overnight, I actually let my container ferment on top of my (very warm) home server overnight and it rose beautifully.


The next morning, on a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to about a 1/8″ thickness. I used a 3-inch cutter to cut 15 rounds from the dough. Any scraps were gathered and re-rolled to form more donuts. If you did not want to fill them, you can cut holes in the middle like with traditional donuts. Because I filled mine, no center hole is necessary. Discard any scraps too small to use, or roll into a ball to make donut holes. Place the cut dough onto a silpat lined pan, cover, and allow to proof for another 1-2 hours, until the donuts have doubled in size. You’ll know when it’s all ready when the dough is pressed, and the impression remains.


While the dough is doing a final proof, begin making the pastry cream filling. Combine the milk and half the sugar in a saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, roughly chop the coffee beans or gently crush them with a heavy bottomed pot. When the milk/sugar comes to a slight boil (tiny bubbles on the edges), remove from heat and add the crushed coffee beans. Let the milk infuse for 15-20 minutes. Pour the milk/coffee mixture through a coffee filter and/or sieve. Discard the coffee beans, and weigh the milk to ensure there is still enough (as the beans may have absorbed some of the milk) – add additional milk as needed. Place milk back into the saucepan and heat to just a boil

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining sugar, egg yolks, and starch and whisk until pale in color. Temper the eggs by ladling in a small amount of hot milk, whisking all the while to prevent scrambling the eggs. Gradually ladle in more milk, whisking the whole time. Pour the milk-egg custard base back into the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking until the custard thickens. Remove the saucepan from heat, and slowly add the butter and vanilla, continuing to whisk to incorporate. Cool the pastry cream to room temp and set aside or cover and refrigerate until use.


Back to the donuts – after the final proof, go ahead and preheat a large, heavy pot with canola oil. I used my Le Creuset and filled it about 2-3 inches with canola oil and let it warm up to about 350*F. Have a drip rack/baking sheet ready. Also, have a shallow plate or saucer dish filled with sugar for coating handy. Gently lower the doughnuts into the oil and fry for 30-45 seconds until the bottoms are golden brown. Flip them over and fry again for 45 seconds. Transfer the donuts to the rack to drip excess oil and cool, while you fry the next batch. Once you’re done frying all the donuts, toss them in the granulated sugar and coat. Set on a clean rack.


Once all the donuts have been coated with sugar, use a knife to make a small incision on each donut. Pipe the pastry cream into each donut – you’ll know the donut is full of cream once it starts to ooze out. Enjoy!


I’m a really messy piper – I managed to get that pastry cream all over the counter and my hands. Not sure how folks manage to do it so neatly. Whatever the case, these are delicious. I will admit to eating the small donut holes immediately after frying them and dunking them in the sugar – no filling needed. However, once filled, the coffee kick was quite nice too. This is a great starter recipe, with room for infinite permutations. Berries are in season now, I think I may try a few berry fillings before the season is over.

This weekend is proving to be really great so far and it’s only Saturday. I’ll be filling in the rest of the time reading, occasionally doing some GRE practice problems, and meal prepping for next week. Thanks for stopping by!


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