Rhubarb and custard doughnuts

A classic flavour in a doughnut what could be better! I love the flavour combo of Rhubarb and Vanilla custard, the tanginess of the rhubarb works so well with the sweet vanilla custard. These doughnuts do have a lot of steps to them but they are so worth making! They are such a treat! Filled with a tangy rhubarb jam and vanilla custard, so so yummy!
When making this recipe please take care with the deep frying. If you have a deep fat fryer then great! But if you don’t you can cook them in a pan of oil. But be careful when cooking with oil. I recommend having a temperature probe with you to monitor the heat, so that it doesn’t get too hot so that your doughnuts will cook properly and that it is completely safe! The best oils to use are neutral flavoured oil, like sunflower or rapeseed. Olive oil or nut oils have too much flavour and will effect the taste of the doughnuts. The optimum temperature for frying is around 170-180 degrees celsius. For doughnuts this size, they should take a couple minutes on each side to cook, I recommend having a test doughnut initially so you can check the oil and temperature. Plus you can test it with a cheeky taste!
Now yeast can be a scary ingredient if you aren’t familiar with it. Plus there are lots of different types of yeast which makes it the more confusing! But I am going to go through each one step by step so you know which one to pick and also how you can switch them up so you don’t mess up the recipe.

  • Instant Dry Yeast (also known as easy bake, fast action, easy blend or quick): This is the most commonly used yeast. It is the one where you add directly to the flour mixture and begins to work quickly.
  • Active Dry Yeast: This yeast can be easily confused with the instant dry yeast. The difference is that you need to activate the yeast in a warm liquid. So before you add the yeast to the flour, you need to add the yeast to the liquid and let it sit for about 10 minutes to activate. However the measurements are the same for the instant as it is for the active.
  • Fresh Yeast: This type of yeast is perishable, so it must be kept refrigerated and used within a couple of weeks of purchase. When using fresh yeast, it is dissolved into a liquid prior to adding to a recipe. Fresh yeast should be proofed, or tested for potency, before each use. To proof yeast, dissolve in warm water and add a pinch of sugar. If the yeast does not begin to foam within 5 to 10 minutes, it is no longer active. To switch a recipe from fresh yeast to dry yeast the ratio is 1g dry yeast to 3g of fresh yeast. So 5g dried yeast you will need 15g fresh yeast.
  • Liquid Yeast: Liquid Yeast is purely used for sourdough. Another word for this is called a ‘starter’. It is a living yeast. All you need to do is to add fresh carbohydrate for it to survive and to continue to replicate.
  • Nutritional Yeast: This yeast is NOT used for baking. This is purely to add flavour to savoury foods.
Makes 8-10 doughnuts
For the Dough:
420g Plain Flour
200g Milk
40g Caster Sugar
5g Dried Yeast
5g Salt
1 Medium Egg
50g Unsalted Butter
Rhubarb Jam:
250g Rhubarb
200g Sugar
2 tbsp. Water
Vanilla Custard:
125g Milk
125g Whipping Cream
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
60g Sugar
2 egg yolks
30g Flour
75g Butter
Sugar Coating:
150g Sugar
1. Firstly, the dough. In a small pan, melt the butter and add the milk. Heat until body temperature. Make sure it isn’t too hot otherwise you will kill the yeast.
2. In the bowl of a free standing mixer, place the flour, salt, yeast, sugar, eggs and warm milk and butter. Using the dough hook, mix until it has all come together. Keep the machine on a medium speed for about 5 minutes. The dough should have all come together, it should be tacky and very elastic. This is when it is ready to be proved.
3. Place the dough in a bowl, cover with cling film or a clean tea towel. Leave for about an hour, until it has doubled in size.
4. Whilst the dough is proving, let’s make the jam. Chop the rhubarb into small pieces. Place into a small pan. Add the sugar and water. Bring to the boil.
5. Once the jam has been brought to the boil, reduce the heat so that the jam is simmering. Continue to mix so that it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan. It will be done once it has reached the temperature about 103 degrees celsius. Or if you put a small bit of jam on a plate, it will start to thicken. Leave to cool completely in the fridge.
6. For the Custard, place the milk, vanilla and cream together in a small pan and bring to the boil. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks and flour together until well combined. Add 1/3 of the hot milk to the egg mixture and whisk together. Then return all of the mixture into the pan and place on a medium heat.
7. Continue to whisk until it starts to boil and thicken, then take off the heat and add the butter. Whisk until well incorporated and leave to set completely in the fridge.
6. Coming back to the dough, it should have doubled in size. Remove from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in to pieces weighing 60g. You should get around 12.
7. Roll into smooth balls, and place onto a tray lined with baking paper. Cover with cling film and leave to prove for another 45 mins.
8. Whilst you are waiting for the dough, it’s time to heat up the oil. If you have a deep fat fryer set the temperature to 170 degrees. If you are using a pan. Place a full litre of oil into a pan, making sure there is enough oil for the doughnuts to be fully submerged with space to spare. Heat on a medium to low heat, constantly checking the temperature with a probe until you reach about 160 degrees. Once you reach this temperature, reduce the heat to low so that it doesn’t get too hot. The oil is now ready for frying.
9. In a shallow bowl, mix together the sugar and spices for the coating and set aside when ready.
10. Your doughnuts should be ready to be fried. They should have doubled in size. Take one doughnut at a time, and carefully place into the oil. Cook on one side for about 1 minute until it is golden brown, then flip it over to cook the other side. This should take another 1 minute or so. Using a slotted spoon remove from the oil and place onto some kitchen towel to soak up any excess oil.
11. Add the doughnut to the sugar mixture and toss so it is completely coated in sugar.
12. Repeat these steps until all the doughnuts are cooked. You can put up to 2 doughnuts in the pan at the same time.
13. Once they are all cooked and tossed in sugar. Make a small hole on the side of the doughnuts using a chopstick or knife. Fill a piping bag up with the jam and pipe the jam into the doughnut. Then repeat with the custard. You will know they are full when the doughnut starts to bulge.
They are best eaten on the day they are made but will last for up to two days!

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Hey there! My name is Emily Brook and I am a Pastry Chef, Recipe developer and Food Stylist. I love all things sweet and seasonal! I hope to inspire you with these recipes to create delicious bakes and sweet treats which use and celebrate seasonal food. Along with the recipes I will give you some tips and tricks along the way! Happy Baking!

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