June 2 is National Doughnut Day, an annual holiday set aside for Krispy Kreme and Dunkin’ Donuts fans to indulge in their favorite treat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any other time…especially if there’s coffee nearby…

but instead of sharing the usual doughnut recipe, I thought this might be a good time to recap recent posts in my Taking Up Baking series about the French pate de choux.


French Crullers...These fluted, ring-shaped doughnuts with a light airy texture were once a specialty at Dunkin Donuts, but have been taken off the menu because they were too “difficult” to make. The following recipe should be a piece of cake…I mean, donut.

½C milk
1/2C water
8Tbsp butter
2tsp sugar
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 eggs
2 egg whites
4C confectioners’ sugar
Pinch kosher salt
4Tbsp honey
3Tbsp bourbon
6Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 450. Bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a brisk boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour all at once with a wooden spoon until a thin film start to coat the bottom of the pan.Cook 4 minutes, stirring continuously. 

Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Stir the dough for a minute to help it cool. Turn the mixer to medium speed. Add one egg. Add the egg whites a little bit at a time until the dough becomes smooth and glossy and holds a little shape.

Refrigerate the dough for 10 minutes. 

Transfer the dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2″ star tip. Fill the bag with the cooled pate a choux. Pipe even rings of dough onto the prepared parchment paper, at least 2″ apart. The two ends of the dough, after being piped, must be brought together at the same level. 

Mix the confectioners’ sugar, honey, bourbon, and milk together until smooth. Dip the top of each cruller into the honey glaze. Set on a cooling rack to dry.

Bake 5 minutes.Reduce oven temp to 350. Bake another 15 minutes. Turn off heat. Open the oven door a crack. Let crullers sit for 5 minutes before glazing them.Glaze them. Serve.

Paula Deen’s French Quarter Beignets

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups bread flour
1/4 cup shortening
Nonstick spray
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

    Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes. Beat eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture. Add the shortening, and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. 

    Remove dough from the bowl. Place onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth. 

    Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours. 

    Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F. 

    Add the confectioners’ sugar to a paper or plastic bag and set aside. Roll the dough out to about 1/4″ thickness and cut into 1″ squares. 

    Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. 

    After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into the bag of confectioners’ sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly


    • 1C water
    •  8Tbsp butter
    •  1/2tsp salt
    • 1-1/2tsp sugar 
    • 1 cup flour
    • 3 eggs

    Preheat oven to 475. 

    Bring water, butter, salt, and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until combined. 

    Return to  heat. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. 

    Move the dough to the mixing bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed one minute. Add eggs. Continue to mix until you have a smooth, glossy, thick paste-like dough.
    Spread the mixture onto a sheet pan and cover with Saran Wrap until cooled to room temperature.
    Draw a dozen 3-1/2″ lines on a piece of parchment paper, spacing the lines about 3″ apart. This will serve as a template or guide. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the template under the parchment paper.

    Place the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Pipe eight to twelve oblong lengths of dough, about the size and shape of a jumbo hot dog, onto the lined baking sheet using the template as a guide.

    Whisk an egg and water together in a bowlto create an egg wash. Brush the surface of each eclair with the egg wash. This gives the pastry a lovely golden brown sheen and allows you to smoothe out any imperfections on the surface of the pastry. 

    Bake 15 minutes. Remove shells from oven. Let cool to room temp.

    Reduce the oven temperature to 350. Bake shells 15 more minutes. 

    Remove from oven. Place on a wire rack to cool. Poke each of the shells with a toothpick to release any steam trapped inside.Let them cool completely before filling them.

    Eclair Filling...

    •  2C milk  
    • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
    • 6 egg yolks  
    • 2/3C sugar 
    • 1/4C cornstarch 
    • 1Tbsp cold unsalted butter

    Heat milk and vanilla bean, to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat. Set aside to infuse for 15 minutes. Whisk egg yolks and  sugar until light and fluffy. Add cornstarch. 

     Whisk in 1/4C of the hot milk mixture vigorously until no lumps remain. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture. Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until milk starts to foam up. Remove from heat. Stir in butter.

    Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature or refrigerate up to 24 hours. 
    Split the pastry shells in half, lengthwise. Place pastry cream into a piping bag. Fit the piping bag with a medium-size plain tip. Pipe filling into each eclair shell. 

    Chocolate Glaze.

    • 1/2C heavy cream 
    • 1tsp vanilla extract
    • 4oz coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate

    Heat chocolate over medium heat just until it boils. Immediately pour it over chocolate. Stir in vanilla. Whisk until melted and smooth. Cover.

    Dip the top halves of the eclair shells in the warm glaze, letting the excess drip off. Place on a wire rack to dry for ten minutes.
    Once the glaze is dry, gently place the top half of the pastry shell on the cream. Spread icing over the top of each. Let sit for about 5-10 minutes, until the icing hardens, before serving.

    Chill, uncovered, at least 1 hour to set the glaze. Serve chilled.


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