Rhubarb & custard doughnuts recipe

This incredible recipe is from Justin Gellatly; owner of the renowned bakery, Bread Ahead. As it’s in season, we’ve added rhubarb compote to the recipe to create the perfect rhubarb and custard doughnut.

For the doughnuts:

Makes 20

  • 500g strong white bread flour
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 10g fine sea salt
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 4 eggs
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 150g water
  • 125g softened unsalted butter
  • 2 litres of sunflower oil
  1. Put all the dough ingredients apart from the butter into the bowl of an electric mixer with a beater attachment and mix on a medium speed for eight minutes, or until the dough starts coming away from the sides and forms a ball.
  2. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for one minute. Take care that your mixer doesn’t overheat – it needs to rest as well as the dough.
  3. Start the mixer up again on a medium speed and slowly add the butter to the dough – about 25g at a time. Once it is all incorporated, mix on high speed for five minutes, until the dough is glossy, smooth and very elastic when pulled, then cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to prove until it has doubled in size. Knock back the dough, then re-cover the bowl and put into the fridge to chill overnight.
  4. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge and cut it into 50g pieces (you should get about 20). Roll them into smooth, taut, tight buns and place them on a floured baking tray, leaving plenty of room between them as you don’t want them to stick together while they prove. Cover lightly with clingfilm and leave for about four hours, or until about doubled in size.

5. Get your deep-fat fryer ready, or get a heavy-based saucepan and fill it up to the halfway point with sunflower oil. Heat the oil to 180°C.

6. When the oil is heated to the correct temperature, carefully remove the doughnuts from the tray by sliding a floured pastry scraper underneath them, taking care not to deflate them, and put them into the oil. Do not overcrowd the fryer – do two to three per batch, depending on the size of your pan.

7. Fry for two minutes on each side until golden brown –and they puff up and float, so you may need to gently push them down after about a minute to help them colour evenly. Remove from the fryer and place on kitchen paper, then toss them in a bowl of caster sugar while still warm. Repeat until all are fried, BUT make sure the oil temperature is correct every time before you fry – if it is too high they will colour too quickly and burn, and will be raw in the middle, and if it is too low the oil will be absorbed into the doughnut and it will become greasy. Set aside to cool before filling.

8. To fill the doughnuts, make a hole with a sharp knife in the crease of each one (anywhere around the white line between the fried top and bottom).

9. Fill a piping bag with your desired filling (see rhubarb and custard method below) and pipe into the doughnut.

For the custard (crème patissière):

  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 500ml full fat milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 125g caster sugar, plus an extra 2 tablespoons
  • 80g plain flour
  • 200ml double cream
  1. Slit the vanilla pod open lengthways and scrape out the seeds. Put both pod and seeds into a heavy-based saucepan with the milk and bring slowly just to the boil, to infuse the vanilla.
  2. Meanwhile place the egg yolks and the 125g of sugar in a bowl and mix together for a few seconds, then sift in the flour and mix again.
  3. Pour the just-boiling milk over the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to prevent curdling, then return the mixture to the saucepan. Cook over a medium heat, whisking constantly for about 5 minutes, until very thick.
  4. Pass through a fine sieve, discarding the vanilla, and place a sheet of clingfilm on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming. Leave to cool, then refrigerate.
  5. Whip the cream and the 2 tablespoons of sugar together until thick but not over-whipped and fold into the chilled custard.

For the rhubarb compote:

  • 500g of rhubarb
  • 100g of sugar
  1. Roughly chop rhubarb into even pieces, approximately 1/2 inch in length and place in a saucepan over a medium heat with the sugar and 50ml of water then cover with a lid.
  2. Cook for 15–20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb has completely broken down.
Share with neighbours and enjoy!
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