Now that it's officially fall, I'm ready to break open the canned pumpkin. It's still 95 degrees here in Los Angeles but I just can't wait any longer. It's time. To kick things off, I'm sharing these fun Boston pumpkin cream donuts. Take your average Boston cream donut and swap out the vanilla custard for pumpkin cream. It's a winning donut if you ask me!
Boston Pumpkin Cream Donuts
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast (7 grams)
- ½ cup warm milk between 100-110 degrees F (125 ml)
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour (259 grams)
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (25 grams)
- 2 tablespoons softened butter (28 grams)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- oil for frying
- 2 cups milk (500 ml)
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar (133 grams)
- 1 large egg
- 2 egg yolks
- ½ cup pumpkin puree (122 grams)
- ¼ cup cornstarch (32 grams)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons butter (28 grams)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (170 grams)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Make the dough. Combine active dry yeast with 1 teaspoon sugar and warm milk. Let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy and yeast is activated.
- Combine flour, egg yolks, 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, salt, and yeast mixture in bowl of stand mixer. Knead dough until smooth, about 5-7 minutes. Alternatively, knead by hand. Transfer dough to clean bowl and cover. Let rise in a warm area for 2 hours or until doubled.
- Meanwhile, make pumpkin custard. Heat milk with sugar in a heavy bottomed pot over low heat until warm. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg with egg yolks, pumpkin puree, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt. Slowly add warm milk to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour custard back into pot and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Continue to mix until custard thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter and vanilla, whisking until butter is fully incorporated. Transfer custard to a heatsafe bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly touching the surface. Let cool completely.
- Punch down dough. Lightly dust counter with flour. Roll out dough until it's ½ inch thick. Cut out 2 ½-inch round circles and place them on a lined baking sheet. If you need to reroll the dough to get 8 donuts, knead the dough and let it rest for 10 minutes before rolling it out again. Lightly cover the donuts and let it rise for 1 hour in a warm area.
- Heat frying oil to 350 degrees F.
- Gently drop donuts in hot oil, working in batches. Fry donuts until golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Then flip and fry on the other side until golden brown, another 1-2 minutes. Remove donuts with a slotted spoon and place on papertowels to drain excess oil. Let cool slightly.
- Transfer pumpkin custard to piping bag or ziploc bag. Cut a small slit in the side of each donut and pipe custard filling inside.
- Combine chocolate chips and coconut oil in a heatsafe bowl. Microwave in 30 second increments, stirring each time until chocolate is melted. Dip donuts one by one in chocolate and place in a wire rack. Let chocolate set, then serve.
**Helpful tips and common mistakes
Donuts are really all about the dough. Once you have the right dough recipe, you can dress up the donut any way you like. I already had a dough recipe that I loved from my chocolate tahini donut recipe, but I wanted to see if I could make it even better. Seven attempts later and I was back where I started. Turned out, the original recipe was the best one. Well, at least now I know for certain!
The secret behind the dough is all about the extra ingredients - the egg yolks, milk, and butter. It's these ingredients that help create an incredibly soft dough.
Combine warm milk with a teaspoon of sugar and yeast until the mixture is foamy. You need a little bit of sugar to help activate the sugar. Then, combine the yeast mixture with the remaining ingredients and knead the dough until smooth.
Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and let it rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size. Because of those extra ingredients, the dough will take longer to rise. If your kitchen is particularly warm, it may take less than 2 hours.
While you're waiting on the dough, go ahead and make the pumpkin custard. You can also make the filling the day before.
Heat milk with sugar in a heavy-bottomed pot just until warm. We only want it warm enough to bring up the temperature of the eggs.
Then, whisk the warm milk with the eggs, cornstarch, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, and salt. Bring the pot back to a simmer over low heat and heat until the custard starts to thicken.
Whisk in the butter and vanilla and transfer the pumpkin custard to a bowl. Make sure to cover the filling with plastic wrap directly touching the surface. That way, the custard won't form a skin.
Now it's time to get back to the dough. Punch it down and roll it out until ½-inch thick. It's important to roll the dough to the correct thickness. If it's too thin, it won't be as puffed up; but if it's too thick, it won't cook properly.
If you can't get 8 donuts from the first roll, you can reroll the dough. Knead the dough until it comes together, then lightly cover it and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then, roll it out again and cut out the remaining donuts.
Place the donuts on a lined baking sheet and let them proof again. Yup, we're going to let them rest for another hour and let them really poof up.
When it's about time to cook the pumpkin donuts, preheat your frying oil to 350 degrees F. I tried frying the donuts at a higher temperature but the inside would never cook properly. I found that 350 degrees F was the perfect temperature to get the golden exterior and fully cooked interior.
Since the donuts absorb a lot of oil, make sure to place them on paper towels to drain the excess oil. Once cooked, let the Boston pumpkin cream donuts cool slightly.
Now it's time to finish the desserts. Cut a small slit in the side of each donut and pipe the filling inside. If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a regular Ziploc bag. You can even just spoon the filling in but it can get a little messy.
This recipe makes extra pumpkin custard so don't worry if you have some extra.
Next, heat semisweet chocolate chips with a bit of coconut oil until the chocolate is melted. You can also use regular oil instead.
Working with one donut at a time, dip each into the chocolate glaze, letting the excess drip off. It takes a few minutes for the chocolate to set - if you want to speed up the process, stick the donuts in the fridge for a few minutes.
I couldn't wait to dig into these Boston pumpkin cream donuts. I didn't even wait for the chocolate to set, I was that excited. And for good reason. They were everything I wanted - soft pillowy donuts stuffed with creamy pumpkin custard and balanced with that chocolate. It's the definition of a perfect fall donut!
For more pumpkin inspiration check out these browned butter pumpkin madeleines!