Baked Doughnuts with Blackcurrant Mascarpone Filling
I can already hear your thoughts. "UGH. Another HEALTHY recipe. Just give me a FRIED doughnut!" But hold your breath, or eh, your inner voice. I know we all love our doughnuts deep fried. But sometimes you just can't have one more deep fried thing in your life. Or you simply can't be bothered to get the deep fat fryer out and have your whole kitchen smell like grease. (To be fair - my reason is mainly the latter. I will forever eat deep fried doughnuts outdoors!) This recipe is for those of you who crave doughnuts, but do not want the faff with the fryer.
There is a story behind these doughnuts. If you live in London, you sure have heard of Bread Ahead in Borough Market. It's a very popular bakery and they do insane doughnuts. I had their special a few weeks back, which had a blackcurrant and mascarpone filling. It was very close to, if not THE best thing I have ever eaten. So I knew I had to try and recreate it at home somehow. That's when these were born. I have no regrets.
These doughnuts are:
Light and fluffy
Covered in crunchy sugar
Not greasy at all
As they are baked, there is no risk of ending up with a very greasy product because your oil temperature was slightly off. The dough I've used is basically an enriched bread dough which is very light and fluffy and soft when proofed well. They are definitely best eaten fresh on the day of baking, but I found out they can very easily be revived in the microwave if they dry out a little bit by putting it on defrost for 15 seconds. I don't know why, but it works.
Baked Doughnuts with Blackcurrant Mascarpone Filling
This recipe makes around 8 - 10 large doughnuts.
For the dough:
300 grams plain flour + extra for dusting
2 tsp instant yeast (the fast-action, dried stuff in a sachet)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
40 grams granulated sugar
150 ml warm milk (~27 degrees Celsius is good)
40 grams melted butter + extra for coating
1 medium egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling/topping:
1 tub mascarpone (250 grams)
1 cup blackcurrants (around 150 grams)
2 tbsp granulated sugar
Plenty of pink (or normal) granulated sugar for coating the doughnuts
Take the mascarpone from the fridge and put in a bowl to soften to room temperature.
Combine all the ingredients for the dough in a large mixing bowl that fits your standing mixer. Attach the dough hook and mix for 10 minutes on medium speed until the dough is a smooth, round ball. If you don't have a standing mixer, you can knead by hand, but you might need to dust with some extra flour if it is very sticky.
Let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size (around 1 - 1.5 hours)
Whilst the dough rises, make the filling. Place the blackcurrants* in a sauce pan with the 2 tbsp of sugar and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes until broken down, then set aside to cool.
Loosen up the mascarpone with a whisk, then stir in the blackcurrant sauce. You can mix it in thoroughly or try to create more of a ripple effect.
Place filling in a piping bag with a large round nozzle and leave aside on the counter.
When the dough has doubled in size, dust the counter with flour and roll out the dough to 1.5 cm thick.
Using a cookie cutter (I used 8 cm diameter, but you can use 6 cm for slightly smaller doughnuts), cut out the doughnuts. Re-roll the scraps of dough to cut out the last doughnuts.
Place the doughnuts on a baking tray (or two) with at least 5 cm in between each doughnut to allow for them to rise.
Place the tray in a large plastic bag so the doughnuts don't dry out and leave in a warm spot for around 45 minutes until puffy and close to doubled in size.
Halfway through the second proof, preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (conventional) or 170 degrees Celsius (fan oven).
Place the tray(s) in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until the doughnuts are golden and risen.
Whilst the doughnuts bake, melt an additional 2 tbsp of butter and set aside.
Sprinkle plenty of sugar in a shallow tray. To make pink sugar, mix the sugar with 1 drop of red gel food colouring. You can also do this the day before.
When the doughnuts come from the oven, immediately brush with melted butter, then roll through the sugar and place on a cooling rack.
When cool, make a hole in the doughnuts by inserting a knife and twisting it. Take care not to go all the way through the doughnut (or into your own hand!).
Take your piping bag and insert the nozzle into the doughnut. Fill the doughnuts up all the way, then add an extra little swirl on the top.
Enjoy as a snack or even for breakfast if you want with a cup of coffee!
*You can use either fresh or frozen blackcurrants. Or if you cannot find them at all, you can try buying a freezer bag of mixed frozen berries which usually contain blackcurrants. Or you can use whichever berry you want really, they will all work beautifully!
This recipe is not too difficult, so anything that goes wrong should be easy to fix!
The dough is too sticky
It should be very sticky to begin with. If you are using a standing mixer, give it 8 minutes. If it is not becoming less sticky, then add one tablespoon more flour. If you are kneading by hand, it will be difficult to start with, but it should get progressively easier. You can dust your surface with flour, but you do not want to add too much extra flour because then your doughnuts will be too bready and less moist and soft. You can also try to use the sourdough "slap and fold" method of kneading in the beginning to get rid of some of the initial stickiness! Only if none of this works you should add a bit more flour, one tablespoon at a time.
My dough did not rise
Okay. There could be a few things wrong here. First: is your instant yeast expired? Have a look on the packaging. Instant yeast does have an expiry date and if it is past this date, chances are that is why your dough did not rise. If that is not the case, you might have killed the yeast when you added the warm liquid. If it was too hot, the yeast could have died. But really anything below 40° Celsius should be fine. Otherwise: the spot you left your dough in could be too cold. If you left it below/around room temperature, it might need 2 hours to double in size rather than just 1 hour, so be patient!
My doughnuts looked great, but then they did not rise much or deflated in the oven
This happens when you overproofed your dough. You may have left it for too long, or in a place that was a bit too warm. Or you may have added a bit too much yeast. But no worries - the doughnuts should still be quite delicious to eat!
Let me know on Instagram @bakingstori if you try to make these doughnuts - I would love to see your results!