chocolate custardfilled doughnuts
PREP TIME 35 mins, plus, rising and proving, COOK TIME 15–20 mins
2⁄3 cup milk
5 tbsp unsalted butter
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp dried yeast
1⁄3 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour, preferably “00” grade, plus extra for dusting
1⁄2 tsp salt
1 quart (1 liter) peanut or sunflower oil, for deep-frying, plus extra for greasing
sugar, for coating
For the chocolate custard filling:
3⁄4 cup whole milk
2 egg yolks
1⁄4 cup sugar
1 tsp cornstarch
1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
2⁄3 cup dark chocolate, finely chopped
1 Heat the milk, butter, and vanilla extract in a saucepan until the butter melts. Let it cool until tepid. Whisk in the yeast and a tablespoon of the sugar. Cover and leave for 10 minutes. Mix in the eggs.
2 Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the remaining sugar. Make a well in the flour and add the milk mixture. Bring together to form a rough dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and pliable. Put in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Keep it warm for 2 hours until doubled in size.
3 On a floured surface, knock back the dough and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll them between your palms to form balls. Place on baking sheets, spaced well apart. Cover with plastic wrap and a dish towel. Leave in a warm place for 1–2 hours until doubled in size.
4 In a large, heavy-based saucepan or deep-fat fryer, heat a 4in (10cm) depth of oil to 375ºF (190ºC). Slide the doughnuts off the sheets. Do not worry if they are flatter on one side. Carefully lower 3 at a time into the hot oil, roundedside down. Turn after 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon when golden brown all over. Drain on paper towels, then, while still hot, toss them in sugar. Cool before filling.
5 For the filling, pour the milk into a saucepan over medium heat, and heat until small bubbles form on the edge and steam rises. Do not allow the milk to boil. Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch together until pale yellow and thick. Slowly whisk in the warm milk. Return the mixture to the saucepan and simmer, stirring continuously, over very low heat until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in the vanilla extract, then add the chocolate and stir until it has completely melted. Remove from the heat and pour into a pitcher or bowl. Let the filling cool completely, then pour into a piping bag with a thin nozzle.
6 Pierce each doughnut on the side and insert the nozzle. Gently squirt in about a tablespoon of the filling, until it almost starts to spill out again. Dust the hole with a little more sugar, and serve.