Just the other day I was browsing through Instagram to see a fellow blogger sharing his experience in Jerusalem. He was taking a bakery tour, tasting and preparing famous pastries of the city. One that immediately caught my eye was a paris-brest filled with chocolate tahini cream. It was my first time seeing the flavor combination of chocolate and tahini. Since then, I can't stop seeing it everywhere! To say I was curious is an understatement. I had to remedy this situation and I thought, "what could be better than tasting the flavors through a donut?" These chocolate tahini donuts dusted with pistachio sugar are, DELICIOUS, to say the least. I mean, how can you resist?
Chocolate Tahini Donuts
- 1 ½ tablespoon active dry yeast (16 grams)
- ½ cup warm water, 100-110 degrees F (125 ml)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 ½ cups bread flour (547 grams)
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar (67 grams)
- ½ cup butter, softened, cut into small chunks (113 grams)
Chocolate tahini filling
- 2 cups milk (500 ml)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips (142 grams)
- 2 tablespoon butter (28 grams)
- ⅓ cup tahini (78 grams)
- ¾ cup whipped cream (188 ml)
- ½ cup pistachios (60 grams)
- ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
- Make the dough. Combine active dry yeast with warm water, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture is foamy and the yeast is activated.
- Whisk together the 3 eggs with 2 egg yolks. Combine the eggs with bread flour, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the yeast mixture and mix until a dough forms. Add the butter and knead the dough until smooth, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer the dough into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm spot and let proof for 1 hour until doubled in size.
- Meanwhile, make the chocolate tahini filling. Whisk together milk with 1 teaspoon vanilla and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Whisk 4 egg yolks with sugar and slowly add the milk to the eggs, whisking constantly. Do not add the milk too quickly or the eggs will scramble. Add 2 tablespoon cornstarch, 2 tablespoon cocoa powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Heat the egg mixture over medium heat on the stove and cook until the mixture has thickened, whisking constantly.
- Remove the pastry cream from heat and stir in the chocolate, tahini, and butter until they have melted. Transfer the filling to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, letting the plastic wrap sit directly on top of the filling to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool. Fold in ¾ cup whipped cream and set aside.
- Gently punch down the dough. Roll the dough into a rectangle about ¾ inch thick. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter and cut 16 circles. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper with 2 inches of space in between the donuts. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise for another 2 hours.
- Make the pistachio sugar. Grind pistachios in a food processor until finely ground. Make sure not to over-process the nuts or it will turn into pistachio butter. Combine the ground pistachios with granulated sugar and set aside.
- Heat frying oil to 325 degrees F.
- Fry the donuts until golden brown, flipping the donuts to get an even color on both sides. Remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain the excess oil. Dip the donuts in the pistachio sugar and repeat with the remaining donuts.
- Cut a small slit in the side of the donut and fill with the chocolate tahini filling. Serve warm or at room temperature.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
You would think there's no such thing as a bad donut but yes, there are bad donuts. There's also nothing that compares with a fresh homemade donut. This recipe may seem like a lot of work but just think, at the end of the 3 hours, you'll have more than a dozen chocolate tahini donuts! Not a bad way to spend the day, just eating donuts.
Let's get started then yes? First, make the dough. Activate the active dry yeast by combining it with warm water and sugar. The sugar feeds the yeast and helps it become active. Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes or until it becomes nice and foamy.
Next, use a stand mixer and combine the yeast mixture with flour, salt, sugar, egg yolks, and whole eggs. Once the dough starts to come together, add the softened butter. Make sure the butter is softened or it will be difficult to incorporate into the dough. Knead the dough until smooth and let it proof in a warm spot for 1 hour.
While you're waiting on the dough, make the filling. We're basically making pastry cream and adding chocolate and tahini. Heat the milk with vanilla just until it starts to simmer. Whisk the egg yolks with sugar and very, very slowly add the milk. If you pour in hot milk with cold eggs, it'll cook the eggs too quickly and you'll end with scrambled eggs. Yuck. By slowly adding the milk, you're bringing the temperature of the eggs up gradually.
Add cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt and heat the cream. Once thick, take it off the stove and stir in the chocolate, butter, and tahini. Go ahead and give the chocolate tahini filling a taste. Delicious, right? Place plastic wrap directly on top of the filling and let it cool. Once cooled, fold in the whipped cream to lighten up the filling and set aside. You can also make the filling the day before.
Now let's get back to the dough. At this time, the dough should have doubled in size. Gently punch down the dough and roll it into a rectangle about ¾ inch thick. Don't roll out the dough too thin or the donuts will be too thin. Use a 3-inch biscuit cutter and cut about 16 donuts. More importantly, save any leftover scraps and fry them later for a little snack!
Place the donuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Cover the donuts and let them proof for 2 hours. Yes, 2 hours. During this time, the donuts will rise beautifully, making it oh so light and airy once fried.
Meanwhile, make the pistachio sugar. Use a food processor to get the pistachios as fine as possible without turning it into butter. Mix it with sugar and that's all folks! If you don't have a food processor, you can try using a mortar and pestle or grinder.
Two hours later and hello beautiful donuts! Next, fry the beauties at 325 degrees, flipping the donuts until golden brown on both sides. I like to flip it several times to avoid having one side darker than the other.
Dust the donuts in the pistachio sugar and fill them with chocolate tahini. I found the easiest way to fill the donuts is to cut a small slit in the donut and pipe the filling in. You don't need a pastry bag, just a zip lock bag with one end snipped off will do just fine.
Now get ready. Take one giant bite out of that chocolate tahini donut and let all your hard work sink in. I've tried several different doughs and have fallen in love with this one the most. As for the filling? Amazing. Chocolate tahini reminds me very much of hazelnut, a flavor I can definitely get on board with. In this instance, I guess I have to say, "Thanks for the connection Instagram!".
For more donut inspiration check out these meyer lemon fritters!