”I come from Brighton, so doughnuts from the pier are an iconic food for me. This is my version, filled with a Nutella ganache. Making doughnuts from scratch takes a bit of effort but after a single bite from one of these, nibbled while the filling is still warm and oozing, you’ll agree they’re seriously worth it. This recipe is a staple in my recipe book and on the menu at our restaurants. I’ve not yet found better!” – Laura Petersen, pastry chef
You will need:
- 300ml whole milk
- 50g sugar, plus a lot extra to dust
- 7g pack fast-action dried yeast
- 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust
- 90g unsalted butter, softened
- Flavourless oil for deep frying
For the Nutella ganache filling
- 150ml double cream, cold
- 100g dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
- 200g Nutella
You’ll also need…
- Digital probe thermometer; stand mixer with a dough hook (see tips); 5-6cm round cutter; disposable piping bag
This recipe makes 12. Hands-on time 1 hour 15 min, plus rising, proving and chilling.
Make the dough a day ahead and leave to rise overnight, covered, in the fridge (step 2). Bring the dough back to room temperature, then continue with the recipe
Food team’s tip
You can make these by hand but it’s hard work. To see how to work in the butter by hand here. Fry the dough offcuts, dust in sugar, drizzle with lemon juice and eat as a cook’s perk.
Laura’s tips to success
- Don’t rush the rising/proving in the recipe (steps 2 & 5). Wait until they double in size. This will ensure light-textured doughnuts.
- Adding chilled cream to the ganache (step 3) ensures it doesn’t split and keeps it smooth and glossy.
- When making the ganache (step 3), if the cream doesn’t melt all the chocolate and Nutella, put the bowl over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the water touch the bowl) and stir until combined.
- Eat doughnuts while still warm. They taste even better.
1. Warm the milk in a heavy-based pan until lukewarm, then take off the heat. Use a thermometer to check it’s no hotter than 37°C (any hotter will kill the yeast). Whisk in the sugar and yeast. Put the flour and a pinch of salt into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, then add the milk and mix for a 2-3 minutes until a rough dough begins to form.
2. Add the softened butter bit by bit, mixing on a medium speed for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. It shouldn’t stick to the bowl or your hands; if it does, mix until the consistency is right. Put the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
3. While the dough is rising, make the Nutella filling. Put 100ml of the cream in a heavy-based pan and bring to the boil. Put the pieces of chocolate in a medium heatproof mixing bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth and combined. The ganache might look like splitting but keep whisking, then add the final 50ml cold cream and the Nutella and whisk until combined. Chill for 10-15 minutes to firm up to a pipeable consistency, then spoon into a disposable piping bag (no need for a nozzle).
4. Lightly flour a work surface, tip out the dough and knead once or twice to remove any excess air. Halve the dough then, using a rolling pin, roll out each piece until 2.5cm thick.
5. Dust a 5cm or 6cm cutter in flour, then stamp out 6 doughnuts from each piece. You’ll have offcuts, but the dough is best only rolled once. Put on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper and leave to prove somewhere warm and draft free for 30 minutes or until doubled in size (the time will vary depending on the temperature of the room). During the last 5-10 minutes of proving time, heat the oil for frying in a large deep saucepan (don’t fill it more than two-thirds full) until it reads 160°C. Have 2 trays to hand: one lined with kitchen paper and another sprinkled with caster sugar to dust.
6. Use a large slotted spoon or frying basket to gently add the doughnuts, in 2-3 batches, to the hot oil and fry for 2 minutes, flipping them after a minute, until puffed up and rich golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil, then roll in caster sugar to coat.
7. Using a teaspoon handle, make a hole in the side of each doughnut.Snip the end off the piping bag and pipe the Nutella filling inside to fill. Enjoy straightaway.