Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Lemon Filled Donuts for Mother's Day

Homemade Lemon-Filled Doughnuts
Fresh homemade lemon curd is used for the filling...not the Mountain-Dew-colored fakey stuff!

Mother's Day is this Sunday and I've been thinking about what to make for my mom when she comes to visit. She's my mom, so naturally she's a big donut-er and she also loves anything lemon. As a native of the Pacific Northwest where it's too cold to grow citrus, she goes ape for the lemon trees that grow in all the yards down here in California. So for months I've been saving the biggest lemon on my backyard tree for her.

Using backyard lemons for homemade lemon curd
Gwen picks a mutant double lemon for Grandma! (...and no, she doesn't like to wear pants)

I picked that baby off the tree and within minutes, I had the zest and juice bubbling in a saucepan to make fresh lemon curd. I had never made lemon curd before, but I followed Ina Garten's recipe and it was pretty straight-forward. How did people ever cook before being able to just look up recipes online in minutes instead of searching through cookbooks? I still read cookbooks, of course, but not so much to find recipes when I need them, that's what allrecipes.com is for. I sit on the couch and read cookbooks like novels when my daughter Gwen is in the zone with her legos.

Homemade Lemon Curd Filled Doughnuts

Anyway, the lemon curd was fresh, zingy and delicious. I chilled the curd completely, made the donuts, piped in the lemon curd and dusted the top with powdered sugar. Cute, huh?

Happy Mother's Day, Mom! I hope you like these homemade lemon curd donuts. Now that you're here, can you watch my kid?

INGREDIENTS to make 12 large rounds plus scraps for dipping in lemon curd and snacking

Lemon Curd (adapted from Ina Garten's recipe)
2 small lemons
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 stick of butter, cubed and room temperature
2 large eggs
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of kosher salt

1 cup of very warm water (around 105° F)
1 tbsp granulated sugar (proofing) + 1/2 cup (dough)
3 tbsp active dry yeast
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground mace
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 cups bread flour, sifted
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
lots of canola oil for frying - enough to fill your pot 2" deep
1/2 cup powdered sugar for dusting


  1. To make the lemon curd, zest the lemons and pulse the zest with the sugar in a food processor about 10 times.
  2. Transfer the sugar and zest to your mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment and cream with the butter.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the lemon juice and pinch of salt. Mix until combined.
  4. Pour everything into a medium saucepan, making sure to scrape all the goodness out of the bowl. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes or until the curd thickens. Remove from heat, cover and chill completely.
  5. Next you can start on the donut dough. Boil some water, make yourself a cup of tea, then pour 1 cup of the hot water into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Dissolve the 1 tbsp sugar in the hot water, pop in your thermometer and do some "mise-en-placing" (getting your wet and dry ingredients together (see next two steps)) while you wait for the water to cool to about 105° F.
  6.  In a large bowl, combine the 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp ground mace, 1 1/2 tsp of kosher salt and 4 cups of bread flour, sifted. If you don't have a sifter, just whisk it all together to aerate and combine.
  7.  In a small bowl, combine 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and the cubed butter to 2 large eggs and set that on deck to wait for its shining moment.
  8. Now at this point, the temperature of your hot water and sugar mixture should be close to 105° F, so spoon in the 3 tbsp of yeast into the mixer bowl and give it a few slow whirls with the paddle attachment to combine. While you are waiting 5 minutes for the yeast to proof, pick up the living room so your mom doesn't think you're a TOTAL slob when she comes to visit for Mother's Day.
  9. After 5 minutes the yeast should be nice and bubbly. Flip on the mixer at low speed and add the eggy wet ingredients. It will take about a minute or so to break up the butter and combine everything into a nice, but gross-looking yeasty sludge.
  10. Next, add the dry ingredients, a cup at a time. After about half of the dry ingredients, switch to the dough hook and add the rest of the dry ingredients, again at a cup at a time. Continue working the dough with the dough hook for about 2 minutes until the dough looks like a brain and picks up all of the little crumbs at the bottom.
  11. If you're ready for a break, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and throw it in the fridge for up to 2 hours, but not too long or the dough will develop a yeasty, bready taste. Otherwise, if you are ready to charge it, proceed to the next step!
  12. Roll the dough out to 1/2" thick and use your 4" donut cutter to cut the rounds. Arrange them on a couple of floured cookie sheets about 2" apart.
  13. To construct the proofing chamber in your oven place a 9”x13” roasting pan on the bottom rack and then pour boiling water into it to fill it to about half way. Pop in the donuts on the top rack, uncovered and let them rise for 45 minutes.
  14. Next, take out a big stock pot and fill it 2” deep with canola oil, turn the heat on to medium, stick in a thermometer and wait for the oil to heat up to 350° F. You'll feel like the world’s most talented multi-tasker when the temperature hits 350° F right around the time that the dough is finished rising.
  15. Fry time! Using the metal spatula, carefully transfer the donuts from the cookie sheet into the oil. They only need to be in the oil for about a 30-40 seconds on each side, so the frying process will be really fast.
  16. When the donuts have cooled completely, pipe about 1/4 cup of lemon curd into each donut. Dust the top with powdered sugar, present to Mom, watch her enjoy and bask in her praise <3.


  1. Looks DLISH! Thank you. Happy Mother's Day to you too <3

  2. These lemon filled donuts look divine. I want one now!!!