Banana Cream Pie is my favorite… actually, hold please… if you had a Coconut Cream Pie in your fridge I could be persuaded to flip. It wouldn’t take much, obviously. Add the word Cream to most any dessert and I’m there with a hot pot of coffee.
A few weeks ago I made a Chocolate Bottom Banana Cream Pie. It was a thing of dreams until I got carried away, adding too much bourbon to the pudding. Delicious, but the pudding wouldn’t set. Delicious, but the pie wasn’t super slice-able. Delicious if you were one of the few friends who came over and just ate it with forks straight from the pie pan.
When it comes to bourbon, more is too much.
So! Forget the pie plate. I’m putting banana cream pie filling inside fresh-fried doughnuts. A pie and doughnut hybrid the logical next step, right?
This is a baking adventure. To be sure. We’re making doughnuts, pudding, aaand cream. This is a lot, so fun, and totally worth the effort.
I don’t want you to think I just hang around my house on any given Wednesday and whip up these donuts in a flash. This is involved. Call your friends! Make it a kitchen adventure with mega reward you can enjoy together!
We start by dissolving yeast in warm water with a pinch of sugar. Activation!
I find it easiest to mix this dough in a stand mixer because the dough starts off pretty soft and sticky.
Flour and sugar into the bowl.
Salt and cinnamon for balance and flavor.
We’ll toss the dry ingredients together while the yeast activates.
Luscious (truly) egg yolks are added straight into the dry ingredients.
It’ll all come together evenly soon.
Activated yeast, melted butter, and room temperature milk are added to the bowl.
I like to toss the wet and dry ingredients together with a spatula before adding the dough hook. Just give all of the ingredients a head start.
While mixing, I added extra flour… the dough seemed a bit wet to me. I think I added about 1/2 cup extra.
While the dough mixes and rests, we’ll make the pudding.
Alternately, you can totally make the pudding first or even a day or two before you make the doughnut dough so it’s super chilled in the fridge when the doughnuts are fried.
Milk, heavy cream, egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, salt, and butter for our pudding base.
The bananas we’ll mash later and stir into the pudding. The cookies we’ll crumble and sprinkle… again, later.
In a small saucepan we’ll stir together brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt.
Whisk in the egg yolks creating a thick paste.
Into the paste goes a slow stream of milk and cream.
We’ll cook the pudding over medium-low heat until it comes to a light simmer and begins to thicken.
The egg yolks will help the mixture thicken, but the cornstarch will do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to thickening and don’t forget, cornstarch thickens at the boiling point.
Whisk the mixture frequently as it warms and once it begins to simmer, whisk it constantly until it holds whisk streaks.
In other pudding news: Really Very Good Chocolate Pudding
We’ll add a good pat of butter to the thickened pudding and a splash of vanilla extract.
We’ll transfer the pudding to a bowl, cover it with plastic wrap so the plastic touches the surface of the pudding, and chill!
Notice that we haven’t added the mashed banana yet. Banana browns in air so we’ll save that for the last minute.
Look at this tender, sweet dough!
It really is my favorite yeasted dough. Egg yolks and butter make it easy to love. Too easy to love.
The dough is rolled to about 3/4-inch thick, cut with a round 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter and left to rest and rise for 30 minutes.
In that rest time, it’s a good idea to add oil to a medium heavy-bottom saucepan. I add about 3 to 4-inches of oil.
A fry thermometer is key. We need to know exactly how hot the oil is before we start frying. 350 degrees F is just the ticket.
Doughnuts are fried to deep golden brown, about 1 minute on each side, then left to cool on a wire rack.
Time to stir the mashed banana into the cooled vanilla pudding!
I used two disposable pastry bags with metal cake decorating tips to fill the doughnuts. This worked fine for me, but there were moments of wonkiness.
I think the very best way to fill the doughnuts would be with two squeeze bottles with the tips cut wide.
The doughnuts are cooled to room temperature and we’ll use the back of a spoon to create a hole in the side of the doughnut for the filling!
Banana pudding squeezed into the doughnut.
Cream to top.
Doughnuts are set upright and sprinkled generously with Nilla Wafers.
Keep the doughnuts cool until you dig right in.
Scratch that, dig right in and then keep the leftover doughnuts cool. Count the ways you love them. Creamy, sweet, doughy. A pie + doughnut hybrid? We are a success, no doubt.
Photographs with Jon Melendez.
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 medium banana, ripe and mashed well
- 1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons warm water (105–115°F)
- pinch of salt
- 3 1/4 – 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
- 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- About 6 cups vegetable oil for deep frying, you’ll need about 3 to 4-inches deep for frying
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- pinch of salt
- splash of pure vanilla extract
- I think it's best to start by making the pudding so it has plenty of time to chill in the refrigerator before becoming filling for the doughnuts.
- To make the pudding, in a small saucepan whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Add the egg yolks and whisk to a thick, smooth paste. Slowly whisk in the milk and heavy cream. Place the pan over medium-low heat and heat, stirring frequently with a whisk, until thickened. The mixture will thicken after it has simmered for a few minutes. Once the mixture simmers, whisk constantly until the mixture is thick enough to hold streaks.
- Remove from heat stir in butter and extract and transfer to a bowl. Cover so that plastic wrap touches the surface of the pudding. Refrigerate until completely cool. Once cooled and just before filling the doughnuts, stir the mashed banana into the pudding.
- To make the doughnuts, stir together yeast, warm water, and a pinch 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.)
- In the bowl of an upright stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together yeast mixture, flour, milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Beat at low speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes more. The dough will be soft and sticky. If you’s too sticky to handle, add up to 1/2 cup more flour. Note: the doughnut dough should be soft and somewhat sticky so don’t add too much flour.
- 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. 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.)
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin into a 12-inch round (1/2 inch thick). Cut out as many rounds as possible with 3-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’ll make for tough doughnuts).
- Heat 3 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350°F on thermometer. Fry doughnuts, 2 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, just over 2 minutes per batch (about 1 minute per side). Before removing the cooked doughnuts from the oil.
- Return oil to 350°F between batches before frying each pair of doughnuts.
- To make the whipped cream, place cream sugar, salt, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Use electric hand beaters to whip cream to soft peaks. Keep cool before filling.
- Let the doughnuts cool to room temperature before filling.
- Place pudding in a pastry bag with a wide tip. Place whipped cream in a pastry bag with a wide tip.
- Insert the back of a spoon into the side of a doughnut creating a space for the filling.
- Gently squeeze pudding into the doughnut. Shake the doughnut some to help the filling go down into the center of the doughnut.
- Set hole side up, and squeeze in a bit of whipped cream. Sprinkle with vanilla wafers. Keep chilled until serving.