These Chocolate Pudding Doughnuts are fluffy brioche doughnuts that are rolled in sugar, then filled with a silky smooth chocolate pudding. These are the ultimate stuffed doughnut!
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Chocolate Pudding Doughnuts
A simple homemade doughnut, filled with a luscious homemade chocolate pudding. They’re so easy and truly better than anything you could buy. Every bite is creamy, sweet, and oh so delicious! The doughnut itself is soft, fluffy, and perfectly sweet with vanilla notes hinted throughout.
Oh, and that chocolate pudding… It’s extra chocolatey, creamy, and so much easier to make than you might think! When put together, the two make for an unforgettable treat that everyone will be asking for more of. When you’re in need of a delicious chocolate-filled doughnut, this is definitely the recipe you need! Perfect for a truly special breakfast or a sweet dessert.
Ingredients for Chocolate Pudding Doughnuts
We’re using a pretty straightforward brioche dough for today’s doughnuts and you only need a few ingredients to begin. Here's what you'll need:
- Milk: Whole milk is a must for the most tender dough and smoothest chocolate pudding. Lower fat and nondairy milks work as well, but the doughnuts won't be as flavorful or rich and the chocolate pudding won't be as creamy.
- Yeast: You can use active dry yeast or instant yeast. If using an instant yeast, your rise time will be a little shorter.
- Sugar: Sugar sweetens the doughnuts and tenderizes the dough. It also helps sweeten our pudding!
- Eggs: Eggs provide structure and flavor to the dough. You'll also need egg yolks which makes our chocolate pudding super silky smooth.
- Butter: Room temperature butter makes for a rich dough and promises an enhanced flavor. You'll also need a tiny amount for the chocolate pudding.
- Salt & Vanilla Bean Paste: Both of these add flavor. You could also use vanilla extract if that's all you have on hand!
- Flour: All-purpose flour is the dough’s structure. You’ll be tempted to add more and more flour as you mix the dough, but don’t! You want a soft, pillowy dough for soft, pillowy doughnuts.
- Heavy Cream: In addition to whole milk, you'll need some heavy cream for the chocolate pudding.
- Dark Chocolate: I love using 70% cacao dark chocolate in my baked goods; but you could also opt for a semisweet chocolate for this recipe.
- Espresso Powder: Just a little for the chocolate pudding; don't worry, it won't taste like coffee! It just makes the chocolate taste even more chocolatey.
- Cornstarch: To help our chocolate pudding thicken up to the perfect consistency.
How to Make Chocolate Pudding Doughnuts
There are two key components to these chocolate pudding doughnuts: the brioche doughnuts and the chocolate pudding (obviously).
1. The Brioche Dough
Start by adding the milk, yeast, eggs, flour, salt, vanilla bean paste, and sugar to a large bowl and stir until just combined. Then you'll knead the dough until a firm, but slightly tacky ball is formed; resist the temptation of adding too much flour! Once the dough has formed, you'll slowly add the softened butter in a little at a time, allowing each bit to incorporate before you add the next. Once all the butter is incorporated, you'll knead for another 10 minutes or so.
Once the dough is kneaded and smooth, place it in a lightly greased bowl to rise for about 60-90 minutes. Note: Instead of using warm milk to mix the dough, use room temperature milk and refrigerate the dough immediately after mixing. Under refrigeration, the dough continues to rise, just much more slowly. This means you can mix the dough up to 12 hours ahead, let it rise slowly overnight, and wake up ready to fry in the morning.
To shape the dough, there are two different routes you can take! You can either 1) divide the dough into portions (we did 75g per doughnut), shape them into balls, and press them slightly to flatten OR 2) roll the dough out until about ½-inch thick and cut out the circles using a biscuit cutter. Once they're shaped, leave them to proof and make your chocolate pudding!
2. The Chocolate Pudding
The process of making pudding — any pudding — is easy. Pudding is simply milk and cream, sweetened and thickened by a brief bout of cooking on the stovetop or in the oven. Unbaked puddings, like this chocolate one, get their richness and thickness from a mixture of cornstarch and egg yolks.
To make the pudding, you'll start by heating the milk, heavy cream, and chopped chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has fully melted. Then you'll bring the mixture to a gentle simmer.
While that's happening, you'll whisk together sugar, cornstarch, espresso powder, and the egg yolks together until well combined. Once the chocolate mixture has come to a simmer, slowly pour about half of it into the egg yolk mixture in a steady stream while whisking constantly. Then pour the egg yolk/chocolate mixture into the saucepan and continue cooking the pudding over low heat, stirring constantly until it gets very thick and comes to a first boil (a single large bubble comes up to the surface in the center of the pudding), about 3 to 4 minutes. Once that happens, you'll stir in the butter and vanilla and then ta-da! You're done! Transfer the chocolate pudding to an airtight container and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding to prevent a weird film/skin from forming while you chill it down.
Chocolate Pudding Doughnuts Recipe Troubleshooting & FAQ
CHOCOLATE PUDDING DOUGHNUTS: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Can I halve this recipe?
Yes! You can easily halve the recipe and make these small batch. You can adjust the 'servings' slider from 14 to 7 in the recipe card to get the proper measurements. Just keep the amount of yeast the same.
Can I bake these doughnuts instead of frying them?
Unfortunately, no. This recipe was developed to be fried and if you attempt to bake them, you'll end up with something closer to a hamburger bun than a doughnut. I have some baked donut recipes here though!
Can I store these doughnuts in the fridge?
I wouldn’t recommend it. The doughnuts are best at room temperature and putting them in the fridge can dry them out. I would recommend eating them on the day they're made, however, you can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day. Any longer than that, and they'll start to dry out and get tough.
CHOCOLATE PUDDING DOUGHNUTS: TROUBLESHOOTING
Help! My doughnuts are oily! What did I do wrong?
It sounds like your oil wasn't hot enough! Many fearful fryers set the oil temperature too low thinking that it will make frying more forgiving. Frying at too low a temperature, however, will result in greasy doughnuts with a tough crust. Next time, watch the oil’s temperature carefully as you fry and adjust the heat as needed to maintain a temperature between 350°F (175°C) and 360°F (180°C). It’s better to add doughnuts to slightly warmer-than-desired oil, as the dough will bring the oil temperature down a few degrees, than too-cool oil.
If your oil temperature was fine, then it's possible you didn't properly drain the doughnuts. Drain the doughnuts over the pot of oil for at least 10 seconds (a gentle shake will force oil off the doughnut). Move the fried doughnuts to a paper towel-lined sheet pan, where the towels will wick away leftover oil. And then finally move the drained doughnuts to a cooling rack so that they aren’t sitting in a pool of their own oil before filling them.
Help! My doughnuts are dense! What did I do wrong?
Dense doughnuts that don't puff up much when fried are the result of under-proofing. To check if your doughnuts are ready to be fried, lightly poke/prod the first doughnut you cut/rolled. If the indentation immediately bounces back and disappears, the dough isn't ready yet. If it stays, however, it's ready to be fried!
Help! My doughnuts are raw in the middle! What did I do wrong?
Doughnuts that are raw in the middle can be caused by two things. The most common reason is from frying them in oil that is too hot. When the oil is too hot, the outside cooks much quicker before the inside has a chance to catch up. I'd recommend using a thermometer to monitor your oil temperature to avoid this problem!
If you monitored your oil and kept it at the ideal frying temperature, then your doughnuts are raw in the middle simply because you made them too big/too thick!
Chocolate Pudding Doughnuts
For the Brioche Dough:
- 250 g milk lukewarm
- 50 g granulated sugar
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 2 large eggs (100 g), room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- 565 g all-purpose flour
- 100 g unsalted butter diced and softened
For the Chocolate Pudding Filling:
- 455 g whole milk
- 90 g heavy cream
- 85 g 70% cacao dark chocolate chopped
- 150 g granulated sugar
- 30 g cornstarch
- ½ tsp espresso powder
- 100 g egg yolks
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 20 g unsalted butter room temperature
For the Chocolate Pudding Doughnuts:
- canola oil for frying
- granulated sugar for rolling
To Make the Brioche Doughnuts:
- In the bowl of a stand mixer or in a large mixing bowl, mix together the milk, yeast, and 2 tablespoons (25 grams) of the granulated sugar. Add the remaining sugar, eggs, flour, salt, and vanilla bean paste and mix until the ingredients are just barely combined.
- Using the hook attachment, beat on medium speed for about 5 minutes until a soft dough forms. With the mixer running slowly, add in the butter, a piece or two at a time, working it into the dough, then knead for a further 10–15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. *If you do not have a stand-mixer with a hook attachment, knead the dough by hand in this step.*
- Tip the dough into a large, lightly greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 60-90 minutes. Alternatively, you can refrigerate the dough and allow it to rise overnight (The dough is much easier to handle when thoroughly chilled.)
To Make the Chocolate Pudding Filling:
- In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, heavy cream, and chopped chocolate over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the chocolate has fully melted. Turn the heat up to medium and bring the mixture to a gentle simmer. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, and espresso powder together. Whisk the egg yolks into the sugar mixture until well combined.
- Once the chocolate mixture has come to a simmer, pour about half of it into the egg yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Then pour the egg yolk/chocolate mixture into the saucepan and cook the pudding over low heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula, until it gets very thick and comes to a first boil (a single large bubble comes up to the surface in the center of the pudding), about 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Transfer to an airtight container and press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the pudding.
Frying and Assembly:
- Shape the doughnuts: Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. Weigh the dough, and divide into 14 equal weight portions; each piece of dough should weigh about 75g. Roll each portion into a tight ball and then slightly flatten the ball into a disc shape. Place the doughnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, leaving an adequate space between each one, then cover with plastic wrap. (You will need two baking sheets.)
- Allow the doughnuts to proof for 20 minutes (this will take longer if your dough is cold but just check after 20 minutes to see how they are doing). When you poke them lightly with your finger, it should leave a small indentation.
- While the doughnuts are proofing, heat the canola oil to 350°F (180°C) in a deep fryer or a large heavy-bottomed pot (cast iron works great). Line a baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels for draining the doughnuts. Add some granulated sugar to a small bowl for tossing the doughnuts in.
- Fry the doughnuts: Once the oil has come to temperature, gently lower the doughnuts (no more than 2-3 at a time) into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown on the underside, 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully turn the doughnuts over and fry for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the other side is golden brown as well. Using a slotted spoon, remove the doughnuts to the paper towel-lined baking sheet to remove any excess oil, and then transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat the process with the rest of the doughnuts.
- As soon as the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, toss them in the sugar one at a time to evenly coat them. Return the doughnuts to the cooling rack and allow to cool completely, about 30 minutes. In the meantime, transfer the cooled chocolate pudding filling to a piping bag.
- Poke a hole in the side of each doughnut and fill with the chocolate pudding filling. The doughnuts should be served as soon as they are filled. They are best the same day they are made.
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