I see your Easter candy and raise you doughnuts.
Oh, but not just any doughnuts...
The most ridiculously soft, swiss buttercream-topped doughnuts. Coming to you hot, sugared, and in two perfectly springy flavors.
The best part about making two different flavors of doughnuts in one batch is that you are absolutely obligated to try one of each.
For this recipe, I took my favorite doughnut dough and used it as a pillowy vehicle for my newest obsession - swiss meringue buttercream.
Swiss meringue buttercream can be a bit finicky, so take a look at this post for some helpful pointers. The good news is that once you have it down it is dangerously easy to whip up!
The combination of that buttery, marshmallow-like buttercream and bright lemon zest is beyond divine.
Freeze-dried strawberries are the very best way to give our frosting a zing of strawberry flavor without affecting the consistency.
I opted to glaze the lemon doughnuts with a faintly-lemon sugar glaze, and dipped the strawberry doughnuts in sugar.
After the doughnuts have been fried, glazed, and sugared, it is time to reach for the piping bags.
As delicious as hot doughnuts may be, it is important that these doughnuts be allowed to cool to room temperature before slathering on the buttercream. If you rush this step you will be left with a puddle of separated butter atop your doughnuts and that is not exactly what we are going for.
Pipe generously and embellish with telling tokens; i.e. strawberry and lemon slices.
Now we come to the dreaded moment where we must decide which to try first.
Strawberry is a good choice.
Lemon is even better.
Forget the malted milk eggs, just give me a basket of doughnuts this Easter.
I really cannot think of a better way to welcome spring back into our lives.
Sugared Strawberry Vanilla Bean & Glazed Lemon Creme Doughnuts
MAKES 12 DOUGHNUTS
dough recipe adapted from Alton Brown // buttercream recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
FOR THE DOUGH
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
- 1/3 cup warm water (about 100 degrees F)
- 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 2 eggs, well beaten
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 23 ounces all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling out the dough)
- 1/2 gallon vegetable oil
- one recipe lemon glaze (recipe follows)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (for coating)
- lemon slices, for garnishing
- freeze-dried strawberries, for garnishing
Heat milk in a microwave-safe bowl until warm (roughly 100 degrees); about 3 minutes. Stir the shortening into the warm milk until melted. Allow the mixture to cool until just warm.
Pour warm water into the work bowl of your stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow the yeast to sit for five minutes.
Add the lukewarm milk and shortening mixture, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment, mix on low speed until the flour is just incorporated and then increase the speed to medium and beat until well combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the remaining flour. Beat on medium speed until well combined.
Switch over to the dough hook attachment and knead the mixture for 3-4 minutes; until the dough is very smooth and has started to pull away from the sides of the bowl. The dough will still be very sticky, but resist adding more flour.
Coat a large bowl with nonstick spray and transfer the dough to the prepared bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm, dry area (I usually go for the top of my refrigerator), until doubled in size; about one hour.
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and roll out into a rectangle about 1/2-inch in thickness. The dough will still be very, very soft. Use a 3 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to punch out 12 doughnuts. Place the doughnuts on a floured baking sheet.
Cover the baking sheet with a paper towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes. While the doughnuts are resting, place 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar in a wide, shallow bowl, and prepare a frying station by lining two large baking sheets with paper towels and setting cooling racks on top. Prepare the swiss buttercream and lemon glaze. (RECIPES FOLLOW)
Fill your deep fryer or dutch oven with 3 inches of oil and heat until the oil has reached 365 degrees F. Once the oil has come to temperature, drop the donuts into the oil gently, working with 1-2 at a time. Cook the donuts for 2-3 minutes (until deep golden), then flip, and cook on the opposite side for another 2-3 minutes.
Use a spider or slotted spoon to lift the doughnuts out of the oil and lay them on the prepared baking sheets.
While they are still hot, transfer half of the donuts to the sugar and toss to coat. Dip the remaining six doughnuts in the lemon glaze. Set them back on the cooling racks to cool before topping with buttercream and garnishing with lemon slices and freeze-dried strawberries.
Share if you feel so inclined. Doughnuts are best served with dear friends and plentiful coffee. Enjoy!
FOR THE SWISS BUTTERCREAM
recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 8 ounces salted, European butter, softened
- 1 cup freeze-dried strawberries, finely powdered in a food processor
- 1 Madagascar vanilla bean, split and scraped
- zest of one lemon
Fill a 2-quart saucepan with about an inch of water and place over high heat; bring to a simmer.
Combine granulated sugar, egg whites, and sea salt in the bowl of your stand mixer.*
Cook's Note: Wipe the bowl clean with a damp paper towel and dry thoroughly before using.
Place the mixing bowl over the pan of simmering water, being sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.
Warm, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 degrees F. An instant-read thermometer is essential here.
Return the bowl to your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form. This will take a good bit of time, but do not rush this step.
Cook's Note: As the mixture whips, it will cool down, preparing it to accept rather than melt the coming butter.
Reduce the speed to medium high and begin adding the butter, about 1 tablespoon at a time. Make sure the butter is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next piece.
Cook's Note: If the butter begins to melt, this is a sign that the mixture is too warm. Simply stop mixing, and transfer the bowl to the refrigerator. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, until the mixture is cool and stiff. Beat for 1 minute to loosen the buttercream before continuing with the remaining additions of butter.
After all the butter has been incorporated, turn off the mixer, and divide the buttercream between two bowls.
In the first bowl, add vanilla bean and freeze-dried strawberries. Stir until smooth, then transfer to a piping bag.
Add lemon zest to the second bowl and stir until smooth. Transfer to a piping bag.
Cook's Note: At this point, the buttercreams can be transferred to airtight containers and stored for up to a week. Just allow the buttercream to sit at room temperature to soften for 15-20 minutes before using.
FOR THE LEMON GLAZE
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
In a medium mixing bowl, combine lemon juice and heavy whipping cream. Add confectioner's sugar in 1/2 cup increments, whisking well after each addition, until you are left with a thick, smooth glaze.