What to CookBakingFryingTips & Techniques

If You Want to Fill Doughnuts with Jam, Pastry Cream, Apples... Read This!

19 Save

If you like it, save it!

Save and organize all of the stuff you love in one place.

Got it!

If you like something…

Click the heart, it's called favoriting. Favorite the stuff you like.

Got it!

Have you been following along in my doughnut saga? First, I waxed poetic about the glory of the classic yeast doughnut. Then, I formed new opinions on the elusive cake doughnut. But the next stage of this doughy tale is perhaps the most delicious of all: filled doughnuts. I’m talking about doughnuts that are lightly crisp on the outside, then stuffed full of delicious things on the inside.

Shall we?

Advertisement
  1. Brush up on doughnuts.
  2. Brainstorm some fillings.
  3. And then dream up some garnishes.
  4. Consider the different types of filled doughnuts.
  5. Eat them right away!

1. First up, a doughnut primer.

If you need to refresh your memory on all the glorious details of doughnuts, read up here. If you just need a quick summary, here’s what you need to know:

Everything You Need to Know About Doughnuts
+
Everything You Need to Know About Doughnuts
  • Ingredients: Most yeast doughnuts are made up of just a few ingredients: Flour, liquid (water, milk, buttermilk, or a combo), yeast, salt, and flavorings are the usual bases. Some recipes will also include enrichments like eggs, a small amount of sugar, butter, or oil. Ingredients for fillings and toppings can be nearly anything—the sky’s the limit (but read on for some particularly tasty options).
  • Mixing: Yeast doughnuts need more intense mixing to build structure. Follow the recipe’s guidelines, but yeasted doughnut dough should generally be mixed on low speed until the dough comes together, then mixed on medium speed to strengthen gluten strands.
  • Rising: Because most yeast doughnut doughs have a decent amount of enrichments, they can take a decent amount of time to rise (1 to 2 1/2 hours after mixing, and another 30 minutes to 1 hour after shaping. If you’re impatient, do what I do, and opt for an overnight rise instead. Use cool liquid to mix the batter the night before instead of warm liquid the day of. Then transfer your dough to a greased bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight. Bring the dough to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.
How Many Times Can You Reuse Your Frying Oil?

How Many Times Can You Reuse Your Frying Oil? by Sarah Jampel

+
For Easier Deep-Frying, Just Add a...Carrot?

For Easier Deep-Frying, Just Add a...Carrot? by Sarah Jampel

+
  • Frying: If you have one, use a deep-fry thermometer to test the oil and help regulate the temperature—around 350° Fahrenheit is best. If you don’t have one, do it the way my great-great grandma did: Throw a doughnut hole or scrap piece of dough into the oil and see if it sizzles and rises to the surface. If it does, you’re good to go.
  • Draining: My favorite draining system for doughnuts is simple: Several layers of absorbent paper towels on a baking sheet. When the towels get too saturated, toss the top layers and reveal the fresh ones underneath. Some folks opt for a cooling rack set on top paper towels. Either way is fine!

2. Types of fillings.

The beauty filled doughnuts is that they can be done so many ways: Fill them with custard, jam/jelly/preserves, cooked fruit, ganache or chocolate—the list goes on. The main thing to consider is when the doughnuts will be filled. Some doughnuts have a filling added before they are fried (such as fritters, twists, and bear claws), so the fillings themselves must be adjusted accordingly. The filling may have flour or egg in it for stability, to make sure it stays inside during the frying. Other doughnuts get their fillings after frying (such as long johns and Berliners), so the fillings can be much more flexible—anything from whipped cream to fruit curd can be added.

Fritters, for example, get chunks of fruit—like apples (or pears or peaches or cherries or...)
Fritters, for example, get chunks of fruit—like apples (or pears or peaches or cherries or...) Photo by Bobbi Lin

3. Garnishes.

The sky is the limit with garnishes. When I’m making filled doughnuts, I always carefully consider any other components to make sure they’ll really complement each other. If a doughnut has a chunkier filling, for example, I may opt for a smooth, all-over glaze. If a doughnut has a smooth and creamy filling, I may garnish the doughnut with cinnamon sugar or chopped nuts for contrast. Some doughnuts don’t need anything but a dusting of powdered sugar. Really, it’s all up to you!

Advertisement

4. Let’s talk types of filled doughnuts.

There are several types of filled doughnuts, and they’re all worth a mention as you find your true doughnut path. Each type is totally adaptable, meaning you can adjust the shapes or fillings or glazes to suit your whims and tastes!

Long Johns

A long, rectangular doughnut made from yeasted dough that often boasts a thicker shmear of glaze and plenty of filling. Here’s how to do it:

Honey Long Johns
Honey Long Johns
  • Roll out your dough to 1/2 inch thick. Use a pastry wheel or bench knife to cut the dough into rectangles. Size isn’t important (you do you, fellow doughnut lover)—but for reference's sake, I opt for about 2 x 4 inches.
  • Let the rectangles rise on a lightly floured surface or baking sheet. Fry the dough in hot oil (around 350° Fahrenheit) until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper towels.
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Let the doughnuts cool for 5 to 10 minutes before adding the filling with a pastry bag fitted with a metal circle tip (a medium-large tip is best, and a Bismarck tip—especially made for filling—is ideal). Press the handle of a wooden spoon into the base or side of the doughnut to make a hole. Insert the pastry bag into the hole and apply pressure to the bag, filling until the doughnut feels heavy.
  • If you feel like going the easier/more rustic route, you can cut the doughnut in half and spoon filling inside the center. But be warned: This method is significantly messier come eating time!
  • Glaze the doughnut, if desired. Garnish however you like!

Fruit Fritters

Sweetened and seasoned fruit is stuffed inside a yeasted dough, and cut into individual pieces before frying. These are most commonly made with apples, but can really be made with lots of fruits—peaches are another fave of mine! Here’s how to do it:

Apple Fritters
Apple Fritters
  • Prepare your fruit filling. This usually involves cooking the fruit until just tender on the stovetop. Let the filling cool to room temperature before proceeding.
  • Roll out the dough to 1/4 inch thick. No need to be precise about the shape here—rustic is the name of the game.
  • Scatter the cooled fruit filled evenly over the surface of the dough, then gently roll the dough up into a log. Use a rolling pin to gently roll out the log flat, into more of a rectangular shape no more than 1 inch thick.
Fritter dough gets rolled out, filled with apples, rolled into a log, rolled out again, then sliced into squares. Photos by Bobbi Lin
  • Use a bench knife or knife to cut the dough into squares (totally fine to be random, but just try to make them roughly the same size so they’ll fry evenly).
  • Fry the fritters until golden brown on each side. Take care when adding them to the oil; some fruit may fall out (that’s okay)! If you’re making multiple kinds of doughnuts, fry these last, as the filling can flavor and color the oil.
  • Drain the fritters on absorbent paper towels. Let cool at least 5 minutes before coating in sugar or glazing.

Berliners

Usually a round or square piece of yeasted dough, which provides an airy interior that easily makes room for lots of filling. Usually glazed with a complementary flavor to the filling. Here’s how to do it:

Black Forest Berliners
Black Forest Berliners
  • Roll out your dough to 1/2 inch thick. Use a round cutter to cut circles of dough (precise size isn’t important, but I usually go for 2 1/2 to 3 inches wide). Alternatively, use a pastry wheel or bench knife to cut the dough into squares (I usually opt for 3 x 3 inches).
  • Let the doughnuts rise on a lightly floured surface or baking sheet. Fry the dough in hot oil (around 350° Fahrenheit) until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper towels.
Photo by Bobbi Lin
These Berliners get the double dip: First in chocolate glaze, then in chocolate curls.
These Berliners get the double dip: First in chocolate glaze, then in chocolate curls. Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Let the doughnuts cool for 5 to 10 minutes before adding the filling with a pastry bag fitted with a metal circle tip (a medium-large tip is best, and a Bismarck tip—especially made for filling—is ideal). Press the handle of a wooden spoon into the base or side of the doughnut to make a hole. Insert the pastry bag into the hole and apply pressure to the bag, filling until the doughnut feels heavy.
  • If you feel like going the easier/more rustic route, you can cut the doughnut in half and spoon filling inside the center. But be warned: This method is significantly messier come eating time!
  • Glaze the doughnut, if desired. Garnish however you like!

Twists:

A sweetened filling is spread on yeasted dough, then rolled up into it and twisted before frying. Here’s how to do it:

Maple Glazed Cinnamon Twists
Maple Glazed Cinnamon Twists
  • Roll out your dough to 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into rectangles (about 2 x 4 inches should do the trick).
  • Spread a heaping tablespoon (or so) of filling evenly across the dough. You’ll want to use a smooth, easily spreadable filling for this recipe.
  • Starting with one of the longer sides, roll the dough up into a tight log.
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Use a bench knife or knife to cut the log in half, leaving one end attached. Then twist the two halves together, and pinch the ends to seal. If the strand gets too long when you twist it, cut it in half to make two twists!
  • Let the doughnuts rise on a lightly floured surface or baking sheet. Fry the twists in hot oil (around 350° Fahrenheit) until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper towels. If you’re making multiple kinds of doughnuts, fry these last, as the filling can flavor and color the oil.
Be generous with that maple glaze!
Be generous with that maple glaze! Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Drain the twists on absorbent paper towels. Let cool at least 5 minutes before coating in sugar or glazing.

Bear Claws

A filled yeast dough (commonly with almond or other nut filling). So named because their shape resembles a bear’s paw.

Bear Claws
Bear Claws
  • Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into rectangles (about 2 x 4 inches should do the trick).
  • Spread a heaping tablespoon (or so) of filling evenly across the dough. You’ll want to use a smooth, easily spreadable filling for this recipe.
  • Starting with one of the longer sides, roll the dough up into a tight log.
Photos by Bobbi Lin
  • Use a bench knife or knife to cut the dough into 5 segments, but don’t cut all the way through—leave them attached on one side. (You’re making the "toes" of the paw here.)
  • Separate the cut pieces a little bit, then curl the doughnut into a half circle. Use your thumb to press each cut piece to make a "toe" look.
  • Let the doughnuts rise on a lightly floured surface or baking sheet. Fry the bear claws in hot oil (around 350° Fahrenheit) until golden on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain on absorbent paper towels. If you’re making multiple kinds of doughnuts, fry these last, as the filling can flavor and color the oil.
  • Drain the twists on absorbent paper towels. Let cool at least 5 minutes before coating in sugar or glazing.

5. Remember: Fresh is best.

The best doughnuts are fresh doughnuts. If you've ever lived anywhere near a Krispy Kreme, you get it. When that magical light went on, it was absolutely worth it to pull over with a screech just to get at those piping hot doughnuts. But even at room temperature, doughnuts are best the same day. If you must, keep them in airtight containers overnight, and enjoy round two.

33446bfd feda 457f 932a fe3dd6451913  2016 0711 long john doughnuts baking basics bobbi lin 2464

Honey Long Johns

0fecd8f8 6ef1 4649 9f57 83bf4668f3d0  3572 Erin McDowell
13 Save Recipe
Makes 10 doughnuts

Honey Pastry Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 6 egg yolks

Long Johns

  • Oil, as needed for frying
  • 1 recipe Yeast Doughnuts (https://food52.com/recipes/28778-basic-yeast-doughnuts-with-many-variations)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons milk or cream
  • Honeycomb, for finishing (optional)
Show More
346ba951 1857 462e b013 86b135d807d5  2016 0711 apple fritters baking basics bobbi lin 2487

Apple Fritters

0fecd8f8 6ef1 4649 9f57 83bf4668f3d0  3572 Erin McDowell
53 Save Recipe
Makes 15 fritters

Apple Filling

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 pounds Honeycrisp apples, peeled and diced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Fritters

  • Oil, as needed for frying
  • 1 recipe Yeast Doughnuts (https://food52.com/recipes/28778-basic-yeast-doughnuts-with-many-variations)
  • Cinnamon sugar, as needed for finishing
Show More
34cca4b6 4df5 4d01 acab c5f0e7388ac2  2016 0711 berliners baking basics bobbi lin 2449

Black Forest Berliners

0fecd8f8 6ef1 4649 9f57 83bf4668f3d0  3572 Erin McDowell
41 Save Recipe
Serves 15 doughnuts
  • 1 (4 oz) bar dark chocolate
  • 1 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Oil, as needed for frying
  • 1 recipe Yeast Doughnuts (https://food52.com/recipes/28778-basic-yeast-doughnuts-with-many-variations)
  • 1 1/4 cups cherry jam or jelly
Show More
10c3890d 3db2 4c5c 91c6 54d78ba842f2  2016 0711 cinnamon twists baking basics bobbi lin 2479

Maple Glazed Cinnamon Twists

0fecd8f8 6ef1 4649 9f57 83bf4668f3d0  3572 Erin McDowell
47 Save Recipe
Makes 15 twists

Filling

  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

Doughnuts

  • Oil, as needed for frying
  • 1 recipe Yeast Doughnuts (https://food52.com/recipes/28778-basic-yeast-doughnuts-with-many-variations)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, as needed for finishing
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (use the good stuff)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, or more as needed
Show More
A339d74b 7e2b 406b 8666 7e0907e55bb5  2016 0711 bear claws baking basics bobbi lin 2480

Bear Claws

0fecd8f8 6ef1 4649 9f57 83bf4668f3d0  3572 Erin McDowell
37 Save Recipe
Makes 10 doughnuts

Almond Filling

  • 1 cup almond paste
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Doughnuts

  • Oil, as needed for frying
  • 1 1 recipe Yeast Doughnuts (https://food52.com/recipes/28778-basic-yeast-doughnuts-with-many-variations)
  • Powdered sugar, as needed for finishing
Show More

Erin McDowell is a baking aficionado, writer, stylist, and Test Kitchen Manager at Food52. She is currently writing a cookbook. You can learn more about her here.

Tell us about the best doughnut you've ever had in the comments.


See more from the illustrated biographies of 16.5 global desserts

Tags: doughnuts, donuts