Baking hybrids, mash-ups, bakeovers – whatever you want to call them, seem to be all the rage now. Last October I stood in line at Dominique Ansel’s bakery in SoHo, NYC, in the hopes of sampling a Cronut™. Unfortunately I chose the day I was flying out to do this and had to give up my place in the queue despite waiting more than an hour (I am somewhat ashamed to say it was probably more like 2 hours) as I had to rush back to the hotel to pack and check-out! I learnt a few things that day: 1) waiting in line for an extended period of time builds a sense of solidarity and chumminess, 2) if you want to avoid crazy queues be prepared to wake up earlier, 3) I am a sucker for hype and am prepared to wait a very long time for food.
I may not have been able get my hands on a Cronut™ then but since learning about their existence I’ve been curious to try out at least one baking mashup. In one of my favourite recipe books, Tea with Bea there is a recipe for doughnut-muffins that has been sending out ‘Bake me, bake me!’ messages for awhile now. With no orders to fill this past weekend I finally decided to succumb to temptation and curiosity.
I initially made half the recipe on Friday morning as I wanted to see how it turned out first. I definitely was not disappointed by the results. The doughnut-muffins had a crumbly yet quite moist texture despite having quite a high flour content. I’m assuming the nod to doughnuts was dipping the muffins in melted butter right out of the oven and rolling them in sugar. As the recipe was so simple I made two more batches on Sunday to bring in to work. I made some modifications to the original recipe as although they were certainly tasty enough I still felt that I wanted to inject more flavour. My main note is that it’s quite difficult to estimate how much filling has gone in and as a result I did not manage to achieve an equal filling to muffin ratio across the muffins, but I didn’t receive any complaints from friends and co-workers so I’m not going to dwell on it too much. So here are a couple of recipes I’ve ‘invented’ based on the original doughnut muffin recipe from ‘Tea with Bea’.
Chocolate doughnut muffins 210g plain flour with 3 tablespoons removed 4 tablespoons natural cocoa powder (Dutch-processed should work too) 2 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt 65g light brown sugar 50g golden caster sugar 50g caster sugar 1 medium egg (UK size) ¾ cup (185ml) buttermilk 1 tablespoon sour cream/ plain yoghurt (optional) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/3 cup (80ml) sunflower oil Lemon cinnamon doughnut muffins 210g plain flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ¼ teaspoon salt ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon grated zest of 1 lemon, unwaxed 80g golden caster sugar 80g caster sugar 1 medium egg ¾ cup (185ml) buttermilk 4 teaspoons lemon juice 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/3 cup (80ml) sunflower oil Chocolate creme patissiere 50g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids), melted and cooled ½ cup (125ml) milk 1½ tablespoons caster sugar 1 egg yolk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ tablespoon cornflour 18g (1¼ tablespoons) unsalted butter Mixed berry compote See previous post here for a recipe Coating and dipping - for 12 muffins 60g unsalted butter, melted 60g caster sugar (or as much as necessary)
For the chocolate creme patissiere:
- Put the milk and half the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon. As soon as it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and set aside.
- Put the egg yolk in a large heatproof bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining sugar and the cornflour and mix thoroughly. Add to the egg yolk together with the vanilla extract and whisk thoroughly.
- While the milk mixture is still hot, whisk it into the egg mixture in the bowl.
- Strain the mixture back into the saucepan if lumpy, set over medium-low heat and whisk continuously until it reaches a boil.
- Strain the mixture again into a bowl and stir in the butter until melted and thoroughly combined. Place clingfilm directly on to the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming, and let cool to room temperature.
- Once the pastry cream has cooled, add it to the cooled melted chocolate and whisk until fully combined. Refrigerate for 30 minutes if not using immediately, and whisk lightly to bring back to a semi-soft consistency.
To make the doughnut-muffins:
- Preheat the oven to 190°C (or 180°C for fan-assisted ovens). Grease a 12-hole standard sized muffin tray.
- The method for making both the chocolate and lemon doughnut muffins are the same. Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl add all the wet ingredients and whisk to combine.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. It is very important not to overmix the batter as this will result in tough muffins.
- Spoon the mixture into the muffin tray holes to about three quarters full. I use an ice-cream scoop for this as it’s quicker and easier to achieve even distribution.
- Bake for 22-30 minutes, until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out dry and crumbly.
- While the muffins are baking, put the melted butter and sugar into their own separate bowls and set aside.
- Once the muffins are cooked, tip them out onto a tray. Immediately dip the muffins in the melted butter, then roll in the sugar to liberally and evenly coat. Remove any excess sugar to avoid the muffins being overly sweet.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with a plain nozzle or tip (I used a Bismarck tip) with either the chocolate creme patissiere or the berry compote. Push the nozzle through the top (or the bottom if you want to have a neater finish) of the doughnut-muffin, up to midway. Pipe about 1 tablespoon of pastry cream or jam inside each doughnut-muffin and serve immediately. It is quite important to fill the doughnut-muffins while they are still warm as the muffins will be more pliable.
- If you’re making these in advance, store the filled chocolate doughnut muffins in the fridge. Allow about 30-60 minutes to come up to room temperature before serving, or you can warm them up by placing in a microwave for about 1 minute at medium-high power. The filled lemon doughnut-muffins will keep at room temperature for about 2-3 days.