Monday, September 16, 2013

Pumpkin Maple Croissant Donuts

I'm still craving pumpkin treats, even after making Pumpkin Spice Old-Fashioned Donuts last week. And I'm still preoccupied with Cronuts, even after making the Texas Croissant Donut the week before. 

So combining my two current obsessions was a no-brainer. And while we're on the topic of brains, these will blow yours...

I started with a basic croissant dough, fried it in canola oil, tossed it in sugar, let it cool, filled it with pumpkin pastry cream and topped it with maple icing. Whew! It was alot of work, especially with a crying infant in my arms and a toddler dragging on my leg.

But just one bite made it all worth it. I think this might be my best donut made to date!

It was layery and flaky (is layery a word? It should be!).
It was soft and oozing with delicious pumpkin spiced pastry cream on the inside.
The sugar on the outside gave it a fantastic crunch.
And the ring of maple icing on top was like a finishing kiss.

...too bad my piping skills are miserable. A four year old probably could have done a better job. Oh well. Maybe I'll ask for a cake decorating class at Michael's for my birthday. :)


1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
lots of canola oil for frying - enough to fill your pot 2" deep
3/4 cup sugar (for coating)

Pumpkin Pastry Cream
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
4 egg yolks, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Maple Icing
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp dark corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract
pinch of salt
2-3 tbsp boiling water

(Watch these awesome gifs for a rundown of the croissant dough-making process)

  1. Make a butter rectangle. Wrap the softened butter loosely in plastic wrap and press into the bottom of an 8”x4” loaf pan. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare the dough. Place a medium saucepan over low-medium heat, dissolve the sugar in the milk and heat the milk until scalding (little bubbles form on the outer edges of the milk, but not a full boil). Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl fitted with a thermometer. Let cool until the temperature has reached 105° F.
  3. Add the yeast. Once the milk has cooled to 105° F, add the yeast, stirring once to combine. Let sit for 5 minutes or until foamy.
  4. Stir in the vanilla and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients. Add 3 cups of the flour and combine with a large spoon until all of the flour is incorporated into a sticky dough. Then add the last 1 cup of flour and switch to your hands to knead the rest of the flour into the dough. It should be pretty sticky. Cover directly with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  6. Roll out the dough rectangle. After the dough has chilled, roll the dough on a well-floured surface into a rectangle, roughly the size of a 9”x12” baking dish. Or use the baking dish as a mold and roll and press the dough directly in it.
  7. Integrate the butter rectangle. Remove the butter rectangle from the refrigerator, unwrap from the plastic and place it in the middle of the dough, perpendicular to the length.
  8. Tuck the butter into bed. Fold the right and left dough flaps over the butter rectangle like a letter. Transfer to a well-floured surface and roll dough back out to a 9”x12” rectangle (roughly).
  9. Repeat the fold and roll steps 4 times. Wrap the dough in plastic and let chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  10. Make the pumpkin pastry cream. In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk and pumpkin. Heat until scalding, then remove from heat.
  11. Make an egg paste. Stir together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, cornstarch and nutmeg into a thick paste.
  12. Combine paste and liquids. Slowly drizzle the hot milk into the egg yolk paste, whisking constantly. Transfer contents back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly and vigorously, until the custard thickens. Remove from heat, cover and chill for at least 2 hours.
  13. Roll and cut. After the dough has chilled for at least 8 hours, remove it from the refrigerator, roll to 1/2” thickness and cut a 3” outer ring and a 1” inner ring.
  14. Heat the oil. Fill a large stockpot with canola oil, 2-3” deep. Place over medium heat and monitor the temperature until it reaches 375° F.
  15. Fry, sugar and let cool. As soon as the oil reaches 375° F, use a flat spatula to carefully transfer the doughnuts into the oil. You may be able to fit 3-4 doughnuts in the pot at a time, but be careful that they are not overcrowded. Fry for about 45 seconds on each side. Remove from oil directly into a bowl of sugar. Roll doughnut in sugar to coat the outside and let cool on wire rack.
  16. Fill with pumpkin pastry cream. Fill a pastry bag fitted with an injection tip with pumpkin pastry cream. Poke and inject pastry cream in 4 opposing holes around the croissant-doughnut.
  17. Make the maple icing. Combine all of the maple icing ingredients in your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Blend until smooth.
  18. Frost the top. Spoon or pipe icing in a ring around the top. Enjoy the pumpkins of your labor. :)


  1. I didn't realize I had eaten a croissant donut until I read your post! I guess I should have known when I saw the layering. I had one of these sitting on my desk for an hour before I succumbed to its smell. I might have another. :)

    1. hahah, Awesome! How did these compare to the ones we brought to your house? Because those were baked and these were fried. Thanks to you and Cat for being such great donut testers! :D

  2. Whoa these are beauties!! Do you sell these? If/when you do, I would definitely buy them!

  3. I've been wanting to make my own cronut since I heard about them from friends in NYC. LOVE this version.

  4. Did you try freezing them to preserve and then frying at a later date? Saw your comment elsewhere about it so I was curious.