I love the idea of transforming classic sweets into a completely different form, and these days my choice of form seems to be doughnuts. After my Lamington Doughnuts were such a success for Australia Day, I wanted to try my hand at Hot Cross Bun Doughnuts for Easter. Yes, I am shameless, but can you blame me? They’re so cute! And trust me, they taste even better.
I made a batch of my usual go-to doughnut recipe, and then filled them with a spiced custard and brandy-soaked currants before finally dipping the tops in dark chocolate and piping the signature cross in white chocolate. They were a tiny bit fiddly I’ll admit, but I reckon they’re completely worth it. And assembling these for Easter dessert is made much easier if you make the custard and soak the currants in advance.
I can’t get over how much they actually taste like hot cross buns thanks to the fruit and that awesome custard, which is flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and cloves. I hope I don’t have to do too much convincing to get you guys to try these 😉
I hope every one of you has a fabulous Easter break! I’m heading over to Perth early tomorrow, where I hear the weather is going to be lovely. See you next week!
Hot Cross Doughnuts
Makes about 20
(adapted from Gourmet Traveller)
• 125ml (1/2 cup) pouring cream
• 60ml (1/4 cup milk)
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 225g (1 ½ cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 tablespoon dried yeast
• 30g caster sugar
• Vegetable oil for deep frying
• Dark chocolate, for dipping
• White chocolate, for piping crosses
Spiced Custard (adapted from Dorie Greenspan)
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 cup cream
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
• ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
• ½ ground cloves, optional
• 6 large egg yolks
• ½ cup sugar
• 1/3 cup cornflour
• 3 ½ tablespoons butter, cut into bits at room temperature
Booze Soaked Currants
• 1/4 cup currants
• 3 tablespoons brandy
To make the spiced custard, bring the milk and cream to the boil in a medium saucepan. Remove from the heat, spices, cover and allow to infuse for 45 minutes. Reheat to just before boiling point before continuing.
Meanwhile, in a large heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, pour about ¼ cup of the milk mixture through a sieve into the egg yolks – this will temper or warm the yolks so they won’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remainder of the milk through the sieve. Pour back into the saucepan and place over a medium heat, and whisking vigorously and constantly (making sure to get into the edges of the pot) bring the mixture to a boil.
Keep at a boil, still whisking for 1-2 minutes until thickened, then remove the pan from the heat. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in the butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape into a bowl and press a plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal. Refrigerate until cold. It can be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
For the booze soaked currants, combine currants and brandy in a bowl. Cover and allow to soak at least overnight.
For the doughnuts, combine cream, milk and vanilla in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until lukewarm (30 seconds – 1minute). Meanwhile, combine flour, yeast, sugar and a pinch of fine salt in a large bowl. Add cream mixture and stir to combine. Turn onto a floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. Transfer to a lighly oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (35-40 minutes).
Knock back the dough and roll out on a floured surface to 2cm thick. Cut out 5cm circles, place on trays lined with baking paper, cover with a clean towel and stand for 30 minutes or until risen. Preheat oil in a deep fryer or deep-sided saucepan to 180°C (350°F). Deep fry zeppole in batches, turning occasionally until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes). Drain on paper towel and allow to cool slightly.
Make a small hole and pipe in spiced custard into each of the doughnuts. Through the hole, add some currants, pushing them inside with a chopstick. Melt the dark chocolate in a small bowl, and dip the top of each doughnut into the chocolate. Place in the fridge for 10-20 minutes to set. In the meantime, melt the white chocolate and place into a piping bag fitted with a small round piping tip. Pipe crosses onto each of the doughnuts and place in the fridge for another 10-20 minutes to set.