Who decided that doughnuts need to be a guilty pleasure?
I prefer to enjoy my breakfast treats sans a side of shame.
While it might be a stretch to consider them healthy, these doughnuts are baked in a muffin tin. They’re much simpler to pull together than the typical fried variety and, bursting with fruit, they offer some much-needed nutrients as well.
They do take a bit of planning ahead to make, as the brioche dough must be mixed the day before. But without the need to heat up a fryer, they are much less daunting to make than their deep-fried counterparts.
There is plenty of room to get creative with the filling in these treats, too. A simple fruit filling is nice and fresh, but your favorite pie filling will work well too. I love using the filling from my apple pear pie recipe for a tasty seasonal treat.
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step One – Shape Brioche
If you’ve followed my brioche recipe, you’re ready to make doughnuts when your dough has finished its overnight rest in the refrigerator.
Pour the dough out onto a floured counter and divide into 2-ounce pieces.
Shape each piece into a smooth round.
This is done most simply by folding the dough in half to create a smooth top, dipping the top in flour, then passing it under your palm to round the edges out.
For a more in-depth explanation of this shaping process, you can refer to our guide to shaping dough.
Place the rounds smooth side down in a muffin tin that has been sprayed generously with pan spray.
Step Two – Proof
Let these shaped rounds proof at room temperature. Because of the high butter content in the dough, proofing at a warm temperature could cause the dough to melt. And this would hurt the careful shaping you just completed.
The doughnuts are finished proofing when you can lightly touch the top of the dough and it slowly springs back into place. If it springs back right away, it is not ready yet. If it deflates, you’ve gone too far!
Step Three – Fill
Once proofed, form a well in the center of the dough about 2/3 deep, and spoon in your filling of choice.
Fresh berries or chopped stone fruit are delicious options. But any of our fruit pie fillings would make a delicious treat as well.
Using fresh cherries for the filling? Get one of the best cherry pitters to help you pit every cherry with success.
The options are really endless here – follow your heart, check out what’s in season at the local farmers market, and come up with new flavor combinations!
Step Four – Close
Pinch the edges closed around the fruit so that it’s sealed inside. This might require stretching the dough up over the fruit – don’t worry, the dough is strong enough to handle it!
I sometimes pick up the edges and shake to stretch the sides a little bit longer.
Turn the sealed doughnuts over so that the closed edge is on the bottom and the smooth side is on top.
Step Five – Bake
Preheat the oven to 350°F while the doughnuts have one final, brief proof.
When the oven is ready, bake the doughnuts for twenty minutes. They will get just slightly browned on top and become hollow inside.
Step Six – Dip
Once they have finished baking, remove the muffin tin from the oven and let the doughnuts cool in the tin for ten minutes.
When they have cooled enough to handle, dip each one in melted butter followed by granulated sugar. This final step adds the perfect crunch, and a tasty touch of sweetness.
Go Nuts for Doughnuts
You’re sure to get rave reviews for this simple, delicious doughnut. It’s the perfect excuse to start testing your brioche-making skills.
If you loved this recipe, then you’ll absolutely love more fluffy doughnut delights:
What will you use to fill your pastry? Let us know in the comments below!
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Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Kendall Vanderslice
Kendall’s love of food has taken her around the world. From baking muffins on a ship in West Africa and milking cows with Tanzanian Maasai, to hunting down the finest apfelstrudel in Austria, she continually seeks to understand the global impact of food. Kendall holds a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and has worked in the pastry departments of many of Boston’s top kitchens. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Kendall helps to run a small community supported bread bakery and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and culture on her personal blog, A Vanderslice of the Sweet Life.