Super soft, pillowy, small batch doughnuts filled with blood orange curd. They are covered in crispy sugar coating and each bite you take will literally melt in your mouth!
Why you should make your own doughnuts
When it comes to doughnuts, nothing taste as good as homemade. Incredibly soft, squishy and pillowy texture is incomparable with any shop-bought doughnut. Their crispy sugar coating and moreish filling of blood orange curd will melt in your mouth with each bite you'll take.
Also, often, the thought of making your own doughnuts may feel a bit intimidating. Especially if you never made them before or you are not a very experienced baker. But this small batch recipe makes the whole process much easier to manage and achieve. It requires just a bit of time and patience, but it is SO worth it!
At the end, you will have 6 utterly delicious, completely irresistible and perfect doughnuts. Once you see how easy it is to make your own, you will never go back to anything else.
Tips for making doughnuts
- Plan ahead- It is much easier to start this recipe a day ahead. If you prepare the dough a day in advance and store it in the fridge for the overnight prove, the rest of the process will feel like a doodle. Same goes for the blood orange curd (if you choose that as your filling), make it a day ahead, transfer to the piping bag and store in the fridge overnight.
- Freestanding mixer- Although it is not absolutely necessary to have one of these, it makes a big difference. The dough is very sticky at its early stages, so freestanding mixer with hook attachment makes it much easier to knead. That said, you can also knead it all by hand, it will just take much longer (about 20 minutes).
- Kitchen thermometer- You will need it to make sure your oil is at the right temperature for frying the doughnuts. If the temperature is too high, doughnuts will burn and be raw in the middle. Too low temperature and the oil will be absorbed into doughnuts and they will become greasy.
4. If the dough feels super sticky, add more flour- Different brands of flour absorb the liquids differently. So sometimes, even if you follow the recipe to the letter, your dough may still feel super sticky and wet. Simply add a small amount of flour (only about a tablespoon at a time) to the dough, until it is easy enough to handle it.
5. Allow your dough time to prove- these small batch doughnuts require second prove, so don't rush through this step. Once you have formed the doughnut balls, cover them with damp tea towel and allow them to rise until they have doubled in size.
6. Allow the doughnuts to cool a bit before adding the filling- If you add the filling too soon, it will melt, turn watery and messy (they will still be delicious).
For few more handy tips about homemade doughnuts, visit this article from Kitchn.
What to fill the doughnuts with?
What's great about homemade doughnuts, is that you can fill them up with almost anything! My version today is filled with blood orange curd. It's the exactly same recipe and method as in my Homemade Lemon Curd but I used blood oranges instead of lemons.
But if orange curd isn't your thing, here are some other ideas for delicious fillings:
- your favourite jam or marmalade
- salted caramel
- custard (including different flavours of custard)
When piping the filling, don't be too stingy. Roughly, 20- 40g is the optimum quantity, depending on the type of the filling. Cream filling will be less, because it is more aerated.
How to store homemade doughnuts
Doughnuts will always taste best and should be eaten on the day of cooking. If you do have any leftovers, store them in the air tight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.
With time, doughnuts will loose their freshness and will become dry. Also, this recipe is not suitable for freezing.
Make sure to tag me on Instagram and comment below if you try this, or any other of my recipes. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card or on any of the photos above.
Small Batch Doughnuts
- Freestanding mixer with hook attachment (optional)
- baking tray
- medium heavy-based pan
- kitchen thermometer (optional)
- slotted spoon
- piping bag with small plain nozzle
- ½ teaspoon instant yeast
- 40 ml warm water
- 120 g strong white flour plus extra for dusting
- 15 g golden caster sugar plus extra for rolling
- ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 large egg
- 30 g unsalted butter softened
- 1 litre vegetable or sunflower oil for frying
For blood orange curd:
- 3 medium blood oranges zest and juice
- 200 g caster sugar
- 120 g unsalted butter cubed
- 3 large eggs plus one egg yolk
- In a small jug or a mug, mix together the yeast and 40ml of warm water.
- In a bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the yeast mixture followed by the egg. Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes until it forms a springy dough (this step can also be done by hand, but it will take longer, about 15 minutes and the dough is very sticky). Continue to mix, while adding the butter (¼ at a time). Once it is all incorporated, increase the speed to high and mix for 5 more minutes, until you have shiny and stretchy dough. Shape it into a ball, return to the bowl, cover with clean, damp tea towel and leave in a warm place until double in size (about an hour).
- Meanwhile, prepare the blood orange curd. Place the zest and strained juice of the blood oranges with cubed butter and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan with gently simmering water. Stir often until all of the butter has melted. Briefly whisk the eggs and an egg yolk in a jug, then slowly pour them into the rest of the ingredients and continue to stir until all the ingredients are combined well. Cook the mixture for 10- 20 minutes, until thick and creamy. The curd is done when you can run a finger across the back of the spoon and it holds a trial in the curd. Remove it from the heat and allow it to cool (it will thicken as it cools down).
- Once the dough has risen, knead it in the bowl to knock it back. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. You can use kitchen scales to ensure they are all exactly the same weight. You should have about 240g of dough in total, so each piece should be about 40 gr.
- Roll each piece of the dough into a ball (using your palms) and space out on a floured baking tray. Cover with damp tea towel and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (1- 2 hours). Meanwhile, transfer cooled blood orange curd into piping bag and keep it chilled.
- Once the doughnuts have proved, half-fill a medium, heavy-based pan with oil and heat it up to 160 C over a medium heat. Line 1 large plate with paper kitchen towel and 1 large plate with sugar. Once the oil is ready use a palette knife to gently lower the doughnut into it. Cook in batches of 2 or 3, for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to lift onto the kitchen paper.
- Allow the doughnuts to cool enough to handle, then roll them in sugar. Use a skewer to poke a hole in one side of each doughnut. Gently push in the tip of the piping bag and fill the doughnuts with blood orange curd. They will expand a bit and will feel a bit heavier. Enjoy on the day of cooking.
Please note that all my recipes are developed and tested in metric grams. I recommend that you use digital scales for a more accurate results. I have provided a conversion to US customary in the recipe but please note that I haven’t tested using this method.
- Make ahead instructions:
- Prepare the dough up to a day in advance and prove it in the fridge overnight. On the morning of making doughnuts, take the dough out of the fridge and proceed straight to step 4 in the recipe card.
- Blood orange curd can also be prepared in advance. Transfer cooled curd into a piping bag and store in the fridge until ready to use.
- If you have the deep fryer, you can use that instead of heavy-based pan. Always take an extra care when deep frying. The oil gets VERY hot.
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