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Black Pepper and Strawberry Jam Doughnuts

Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts (10)

Remember my Summer Bucket List?  (How is your list coming along, BTW?)  

Well… I’m ticking them off.  I’m super close to meeting my running goal of 7 miles AND to celebrate, I’ve decided to cross another goal off my list:  making jelly filled doughnuts!  

To-do lists that include making and eating doughnuts… pretty smart on my part.  Life goals that include making and eating doughnuts… I feel like I’m doing a pretty great job at life.  Get in on this with me.   Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts

Doughnuts, luscious and buttery dough from scratch.  Sweet strawberry jam and spicy black pepper for flair.  Why not show off a little?    

Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts

We’re making doughnuts!  

I think this recipe is most successfully made with a stand mixer and dough hook.  The dough is soft, wet, and a bit sticky so it’s a little tough to wrestle by hand.  

Into the bowl with flour, very soft butter, egg yolks, a sugar/salt/cinnamon mixture, milk, and yeast mixture.  It may seem strange to just toss it all together, but this is the way of the doughnut.  

Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts

I used a spatula to first incorporate the ingredients by hand, just to roughly bring them together.  Once the ingredients form a shaggy ball, I place the bowl on the stand mixer and fit it with the dough hook for many minutes of kneading.  

Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts

Doughnut dough is supposed to be soft and loose.  The trick is finding the balance between soft and loosely structured.  I found that I needed to add an additional 1/2 cup of flour to the dough.  It was still soft and stuck to the bowl a bit during kneading, but had enough structure to still relax into a dough ball.  

After about 10 minutes of kneading on the machine, the dough is dusted with flour, the bowl covered in plastic wrap, and left to rest for a few good hours to rise and reflect.  

Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts

The risen dough… it really does get big and poofy, in dumped onto a clean counter and kneaded, just slightly, into a taut ball.  

Next:  rolling.  

Well-floured counter.  Well-floured rolling pin.  We’re rolling the dough into a 1/3-inch thickness for slicing and rising.  

Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts

A round, about 2-inch, biscuit cutter to make doughnut rounds.  No hole this time around.  We’re going to keep the dough and fill these puppies with jam.  

Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts

Deep frying takes some preparation.  We don’t go into this without planning.  

•  Doughnut rounds are placed on a lightly floured, lined baking sheet.  Towel draped over the rounds and left to rest and rise for 30 minutes.  

•  Oil is heated to a hot hot 350 degrees F.  We need a fry/candy thermometer to ensure we’re maintaining 350 degrees.  If the oil is too hot, the doughnuts will brown too quickly and not cook through.  If the oil is not hot enough, the dough will absorb oil as it cooks and that’s pretty gross.  

•  On a rimmed baking sheet we’ll mix our sugar topping:  lots of granulated sugar, a little salt, and a good dose of fresh cracked black pepper.  If you have a pepper grinder, now is the time to use it.  If you don’t have a pepper grinder, you gotta treat yourself.

•  Strawberry jam for filling.  I placed mine in a thick, freezer-safe ziplock bag, cut off a small piece of a corner, and placed a wide pastry top through the small corner hole.  Ready for filling! 

Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts

The trick to generously sugar-coated doughnuts?  Straight from the fryer to the pan of sugar.  The hot oil will help the sugar and pepper stick! 

Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts

Fresh fried.  Sugar dredged.  Ready for strawberry. 

I used a small knife to make a 1/2-inch slice in the top center of each doughnut.  This is where our jam will go.  Rocket science… I know.  
Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts (9)

Get that makeshift, jam-filled plastic bag going and fill these darlings.

Each doughnut will get about 1 heaping tablespoon of jam.  

Strawberry Black Pepper Doughnuts (13)

Sweet and doughy.  I mean… these doughnuts are perfectly doughy.  The egg yolk and butter make for the most luscious, bouncy, delicious doughnut dough.  

The sweetness of strawberry jam is highlighted by the tiny bite-y spice of black pepper.  

They’re doughnut perfection and totally crossed off the list (until the next time I need a doughnut fix… likely Sunday morning).  

Black Pepper and Strawberry Jam Doughnuts
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Prep Time
3 hr
Cook Time
2 min
Prep Time
3 hr
Cook Time
2 min
  1. 1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
  2. 2 tablespoons warm water (105–115°F)
  3. pinch of sugar
  4. 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
  5. 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  6. 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  7. 3 large egg yolks
  8. 3 tablespoons sugar
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  10. 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  11. About 10 cups vegetable oil for deep frying
For Topping
  1. 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  2. large pinch of salt
  3. 1 heaping tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
  4. 1 cup strawberry jam
  1. Stir together yeast, warm water, and pinch of sugar in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, combie flour (3 1/4 cups), milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture. I like to stir the mixture by hand, with a spatula, to loosely incorporate before transferring to the stand mixer to beat with the dough hook.
  3. Beat at low speed on the mixer with the dough hook until a soft dough forms, about 3 minutes. Add a bit more flour if the dough seems too wet. It will tend to stick to the sides of the bowl a bit, but add flour it it seems overly wet and soft. Increase speed to medium and beat 5 minutes more.
  4. Scrape dough down side of bowl (all around) into center, then sprinkle lightly with flour (to keep a crust from forming). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in bowl in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours and make fresh doughnuts in the morning.)
  5. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin into a roughly 12-inch round (1/3 inch thick). Cut out as many rounds as possible with 2-inch cutter and transfer doughnuts to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Cover doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes (45 minutes if dough was cold when cutting out doughnuts). Do not reroll scraps. They tend to get tough.
  6. While the doughnut rounds rise, prepare your frying ingredients. Begin to heat your oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Spread sugar, salt and black pepper onto a rimmed baking sheet and stir together. Place jam in a durable plastic bag, fitted with a thick pastry tip. Have a cooling rack or clean pan ready for the sugar dipped doughnuts.
  7. Heat 2 1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350°F on thermometer. A thermometer is key for this recipe. You need to know just how hot your oil is before the doughnuts fry. Fry doughnuts, 3 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch (1 minute per side). Transfer the freshly fried, hot doughnuts to the sugar mixture and immediately toss to coat. Coating the doughnuts in sugar works best just out of the fryer so the sugar can stick to the hot oil. Remove from the sugar and allow to rest on a cooling rack before filling.
  8. Return oil to 350°F between batches.
  9. Once the doughnuts are all fried and cooled slightly, use a small knife to cut 1/2-inch slits into the top/center of each doughnut. Use your plastic bag filled with strawberry jam and a pastry tip to squeeze about 1 tablespoon of jam into each doughnut. You can also use a spoon to ad the jam, it just might be a bit messier.
  10. Doughnuts are best enjoy the day they're fried.
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine December 2006
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine December 2006
Joy the Baker