LIFE-CHANGING CHOCOLATE CREAM DOUGHNUTS
Makes about 1 dozen | Total cooking time: 3½ hours
Doughnut Coating and Filling
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped but keep the pod too!
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks. Check out this video for a fun way to separate egg yolks:
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 teaspoon instant decaffeinated coffee
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 ½ tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
½ cup warm whole milk
1 packet active dry yeast (2 ¼ teaspoons)
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
½ cup plain mashed Russet potato
1 large egg, room temperature
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the dough
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes and softened, plus more for the bowl
Vegetable oil, for frying
To make the coating and filling:
In a large bowl, rub the vanilla seed into ½ cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt with your fingers until evenly distributed.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining ¼ cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt until smooth. In a small saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla pod over medium heat until the milk is steaming. Whisk in the cocoa and coffee. Remove from heat; throw away the pod.
While whisking the yolk mixture, add the milk mixture in a slow stream. Pour back into the saucepan, set over medium-low heat and bring to a boil, whisking continuously. Boil, whisking, until thick, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate until smooth. While whisking, add the butter a few cubes at a time until incorporated.
Press the mixture through the sieve into a medium bowl and set in a larger bowl filled with ice and water. Stir until the cream is cool. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream and refrigerate until very cold, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
To make the doughnuts:
In the bowl of the mixer, whisk the milk, yeast, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Let stand until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add the potato, egg, salt, nutmeg, and remaining ¼ cup sugar. Beat on low speed using the paddle attachment until smooth. Add 2 cups flour and beat until smooth. Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining ½ cup flour. Knead on low speed until the flour is incorporated, then add the butter, a few cubes at a time. Scrape the bowl and keep kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. The dough should feel moist but not stick to your fingers. If it does, knead in a tablespoon or two of flour.
Butter a large bowl and scrape the dough into it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Lightly flour a surface (wood cutting board will work) and gently turn the dough out of the bowl onto it. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough to ½-inch thickness. Using a lightly floured 3-inch round cookie cutter or glass, cut out rounds as close to each other as possible.
Knead the scraps together, roll, and cut. Place the rounds on a lightly floured baking sheet, spacing the rounds 1 ½ inches apart. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until puffed and ¾-inch- tall.
Fill a large saucepan with oil to a depth of 2 inches and clip on a deep-fry or candy thermometer.
Set over medium heat and bring the oil to 365°F.
Carefully add two dough rounds to the hot oil. Fry, turning once, until golden, about 2 minutes.
Drain on paper towels, immediately transfer to the vanilla sugar mixture, and turn to coat. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough rounds.
To fill the doughnuts, make a pocket in each by sliding one blade of small kitchen scissors or paring knife into one side. Transfer the chocolate cream to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip or to a frosting piping gun. Stick the tip into the hole and squeeze in the cream until a bit squirts out.
Eat as soon as possible!