Did I mention I have a giant bowl of plums on my counter? And that I made a double batch of brioche this weekend? Well, one half of the brioche was baked into fluted brioche tins, lightly sugared and oh so easy to munch with a hot cup of coffee. Half of the plums were arranged in this pretty little tart. I cooked down the rest of the plums into softly scented jam and piped it into brioche rolls I made using the other half of that double batch. Then I doused the whole in melted butter and sugar to make a kind of homemade jelly donut. As much as I (deeply) love plain brioche, I couldn’t reist trying something new; these donuts are just one example of where brioche can take you.
Ever since making these crazy-delicious “donut muffins,” I’ve been craving another donut done right. These fit the bill – soft and buttery brioche, sugary coating, and oozing jam will leave your fingers seriously sticky and your taste buds singing with joy. This isn’t the kind of thing you can make on a whim. The brioche takes some planning ahead which means they’re perfect for a weekend brunch, just be sure to start the dough the day before. I promise, they’ll be well worth the effort.
You’ll need a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook for the brioche and a piping bag with a wide metal tip to fill the donuts. (I have gotten by without the piping bag, using a ziplock improvised version, but unless you have infinite patience and very fine motor skills, I recommend saving yourself the headache and just investing in a piping bag.) Don’t have a giant bowl of plums on your counter? Some other fruit fillings I think would be magic in these: cherry, blueberry, strawberry, peach, or maybe even rhubarb. Just be sure to adjust the sugar in the jam to suit the sweetness of your fruit (and be sure to cook down your fruit enough so it will fit through the tip of your piping bag – some fruits may need to be pureed.) Makes 12 donuts, enough to serve 6-8.
For the Jam
3 cups chopped plums (from about 8 whole plums)
½ to ¾ c granulated sugar
The juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ tsp cinnamon
A pinch of ground cloves
Make the Jam
Combine the plums, sugar (start with ½ a cup), lemon juice, butter, cinnamon, and cloves in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer 30 minutes. Taste for sweetness and adjust as needed. Simmer an additional 15 to 30 minutes until the plums are broken down and the jam has reduced to a thick consistency – remember it will further thicken as it cools. Transfer to a small dish and refrigerate until cold.
For the Donuts
1 recipe brioche (here)
3 tbsp melted butter
1-2 cups granulated sugar for dusting
Make the Donuts
Follow the instructions for mixing and proofing the brioche (here). Once the dough is chilled, divide it into 12 equal pieces, 2.25 oz each. Roll each piece into a ball using the palm of your hand and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough, evenly spacing 6 donuts on each of two parchment lined sheet pans. Press each donut down to flatten slightly. Cover with a clean dish towel and let sit at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once proofed, bake the donuts 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Cool and set aside.
Once the donuts are cool, carefully insert a paring knife horizontally into the side of each donut. Wiggle the knife around a bit to create a hole into which you will pipe the jam. Next, rotate the knife 90 degrees and insert it vertically into the same hole to widen the opening through which you will pipe the jam.
Place the cooled jam into a piping bag fitted with the widest and longest metal tip you have (wider is better than longer.) Place the tip of the piping bag into the prepared hole and gently pipe in the jam, moving the tip around to evenly distribute. Once the donut feels heavy with jam and you see a bit of jam coming out of the opening, it’s full! Repeat with all the donuts. Use a paper towel to wipe away any excess jam dripping from the openings.
Place the granulated sugar for dusting in a shallow dish. Using a pastry brush, brush a donut with the melted butter (bottom, top, and sides – don’t miss an inch!) and then immediately roll it in the prepared sugar. Repeat with the remaining donuts. Serve at once.