Little Doughnuts (Petits Beignets) with Beautiful Creme Patissiere

little doughnuts french

medium

 4 - 5 hours

france

Little doughnuts like these are found in many bakeries in France. They are are a much loved treat and after making these yourself you will find it hard to go back to buying them again! A fairly simple dough, the hard part is shaping the tiny dough pieces into balls before the dough becomes sticky. Creme patissiere is a thickened custard, often used in the bases of fruit tarts and filling for eclairs too. It's pretty straight forward to make, but you can also use jam or a chocolate spread. Enjoy making these french little doughnuts, they are just perfect!


Ingredients 

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   250g  White bread flour


   130g  Whole milk (or 105g semi skimmed and 25g double cream)


     50g  Egg (1 large)


     15g  Fresh yeast (7g dried)


       5g  Salt


     20g  Caster sugar


     30g  Butter in small cubes or pieces



For frying:

   700g  Vegetable oil



For creme patissiere:

        6   Egg yolks


   100g  Caster sugar


    40g  Plain flour


    40g  Cornflour


 600ml  Milk (semi skimmed or full fat)



Plus a bowl of caster or icing sugar to dust the doughnuts

1

Weight the ingredients and if using dried yeast, add it to the milk and whisk till dissolved. Excluding the butter and sugar, add the ingredients to a mixing bowl.

2

Set a 4 minute timer and use a dough scraper to gently combine the ingredients. When the bowl is starting to hinder the kneading technique, move the dough onto a workbench. Start slow kneading using a slow stretching technique until the timer sounds. 

3

Place the dough back into the mixing bowl, cover and put in the fridge for 5 minutes.

4

Remove from the fridge and add the sugar to the bowl. Fold the sugar into the dough. Once integrated, set the timer for 4 minutes and knead fast, using the stretch and slap technique. Once the timer sounds, put the dough back in the bowl and add the butter. Mash the dough into the fat with your hand to encourage them to incorporate. When combined, take the dough back on to the table and knead as fast as you can for 2 minutes. 

5

Using a plastic dough scraper, remove the dough from the table put into an oiled bowl. Cover, and leave to bulk ferment for 1 hour on the side. Grease one large, or two small baking trays with vegetable oil.

6

Lightly dust the worktop with flour and turn the dough onto it. Using a metal dough scraper, divide the dough into 10g pieces. They are tiny, but be patient! Once they have been divided, roll them in your hands to shape into balls. Place these balls onto the tray and allow to proof for 1-1 ½ hours.

7

This is when I make the creme patissiere. Take a large mixing bowl and drop the egg yolks in with the sugar and whisk until the colour starts to fade. Heat up the milk in a pan.

8

Add the flour and cornflour and continue whisking. Add the boiling milk to the egg mixture and stir in with a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into the pan and turn on the heat. Once the mixture boils with large bubbles on the surface, turn the heat down and keep stirring. Cook until thick.

9

Once proved they will have doubled in size, heat the vegetable oil in a wide saucepan or deep fat fryer to 160-170C (320-340F). 

10

Drop around 5 little doughnuts into the oil, one by one. After 1-2 minutes when golden brown underneath, use tongs to turn them over and continue to fry for another minute until an even golden colour.

11

Use the tongs to remove the doughnuts from the fryer and drain them on a kitchen roll lined bowl. Leave them to cool for ten minutes. Continue frying the remaining doughnuts.

12

Prepare a piping bag with a long nozzle or a doughnut syringe. Fill with creme patissiere and pipe into the centre of the doughnuts.

13

Prepare a bowl of caster or icing sugar. Roll the doughnuts around in the bowl, tap the excess and place in a presentation bowl.

Method using a dough mixer


1

Weight the ingredients and if using dried yeast, add it to the milk and whisk till dissolved. Excluding the butter and sugar, add the ingredients to a dough mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment.

2

Mix for 5 minutes at a slow speed, then move up to fast speed for 2 minutes. Continue running the mixer whilst adding the sugar, then 1 minute later add the cubed butter. Continue mixing for another 3-4 minutes until butter is incorporated and the dough feels even and strong.

3

Using a plastic dough scraper, remove the dough from the mixer and put in an oiled bowl. Cover and leave to bulk ferment for 1 hour on the side. Grease one large, or two small baking trays with vegetable oil.

4

Lightly dust the worktop with flour and turn the dough onto it. Using a metal dough scraper, divide the dough into 10g pieces. They are tiny, but be patient! Once they have been divided, roll them in your hands to shape into balls. Place these balls onto the tray and allow to proof for 1-1 ½ hours.

5

This is when I make the creme patissiere. Take a large mixing bowl and drop the egg yolks in with the sugar and whisk until the colour starts to fade. Heat up the milk in a pan.

6

Add the flour and cornflour and continue whisking. Add the boiling milk to the egg mixture and stir in with a wooden spoon. Pour the mixture into the pan and turn on the heat. Once the mixture boils with large bubbles on the surface, turn the heat down and keep stirring. Cook until thick.

7

Once proved they will have doubled in size, heat the vegetable oil in a wide saucepan or deep fat fryer to 160-170C (320-340F). 

8

Drop around 5 little doughnuts into the oil, one by one. After 1-2 minutes when golden brown underneath, use tongs to turn them over and continue to fry for another minute until an even golden colour.

9

Use the tongs to remove the doughnuts from the fryer and drain them on a kitchen roll lined bowl. Leave them to cool for ten minutes. Continue frying the remaining doughnuts.

10

Prepare a piping bag with a long nozzle or a doughnut syringe. Fill with creme patissiere and pipe into the centre of the doughnuts.

11

Prepare a bowl of caster or icing sugar. Roll the doughnuts around in the bowl, tap the excess and place in a presentation bowl.

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More recipes..

How to make little doughnuts with a video tutorial

Top tips for the best french little doughnuts

Try to keep the filling amounts the same in each of your little doughnuts. You can use the scales to weigh the doughnuts before and after filling if you wish to.

If you are not going to use the creme patissiere right away, place in a pot and cover with a layer of melted butter and greaseproof paper.

Doughnuts do not keep that well, especially little doughnuts. But they do freeze nicely when filled and dusted with icing sugar, they can make great grab and go snacks for the packed lunches.

These little doughnuts are based on my experience of mini chocolat beignet's from Paul in France. I ended up with so much bread that day!

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