When pressed, I consider myself a child of both the 80s and 90s. I spent my first 8 years in the 80s, but really did some key growing up in the 90s. And by that, I really mean that I was introduced to the New Kids on the Block at an extremely young age and then transitioned effortlessly into the Backstreet Boys craze. I can truly define my finest milestones by the pop music that was playing in the background. Or the musicians whose images were decorating my field hockey stick. Clearly I was a very serious athlete in that I would print photos of celebrities off the internet (grainy photos, I might add), cut them out, and laminate them to my field hockey stick. Everyone from the Backstreet boys (Brian all the way), Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath, and Ricky Martin (I was in serious denial… and am pretty sure I still am).
What I’m really trying to say is “oops I did it again.” With these doughnuts. And after all is said and done, I think it’s safe to say Britney Spears defined the high school years. It’s almost like I grew up with her; but she chose a scary head-shaving path, while I stayed in school and only used an umbrella when it rained. But when you’re on a field hockey team in the late 90s, it only makes sense for you to pretend to be Britney Spears and perform her songs at any and every spirit event. You already have the plaid skirt after all. And… and… well, I guess the plaid skirt is all you really need. I still remember way too much of our 10th grade dance to “Crazy.” I’m not sure why things like that stick around in my brain when I still can’t remember my husband’s phone number. Really. I’m not proud, but it’s one of the side effects of being a child of the 90s. Also? 10 Things I Hate About You? The best.
I believe “oops I did it again” will be one of my generation’s catchphrases for whenever we make a mistake. But usually a mistake that’s not really a mistake and was actually done on purpose. Like “oooops. My bad.” Like these doughnuts. Trust me, I want to use my doughnut pan. I really do. But whenever I get it out for a baking project, I realize how much I really want doughnuts. Like real doughnuts. Like what’s the point in making baked doughnuts when they’re never as good as real doughnuts. So, I just keeping doing it.
I’ll say oops. But I won’t apologize.
Pumpkin Doughnuts with Maple Bacon Frosting (makes about 12)
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- 1 package active, dry yeast (2 1/2 t)
- 2 T warm water
- 3 1/4 C all-purpose flour
- 1 t pumpkin pie spice
- 1 t salt
- 1/4 C T sugar
- 1 C whole milk
- 1/2 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3 egg yolks
- Canola oil
- 1 batch pumpkin custard (see below)
- 1 batch maple bacon frosting (see below)
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast into the warm water. Stir gently and then let rest for about 5 minutes, until mixture gets frothy.
In a mixer (or in a big bowl with a hand mixer), whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mix in sugar. Then add in milk, butter, egg yolks, and yeast mixture and blend together using the mixer’s dough hook (if you don’t have a mixer with dough hook, a hand mixer is fine).
Once dough forms, increase speed to medium-high and beat for about 3 minutes.
Sprinkle dough with flour, cover with a kitchen towel, and put in a warm spot to rise. If possible, I like to turn on my oven to low and put the bowl of rising dough on top of it.
Let dough rise for about 2 hours. Maybe I’m crazy, but there’s nothing I love more than watching dough rise! Yup, definitely crazy. But I love every second of it.
Lightly flour a surface and place your dough on it.
Roll dough out into a square (or square-ish) about 1/2-inch thick.
Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a drinking glass, cut out as many rounds as possible. My biscuit cutter was about 3-inches and I got about 14 doughnuts. Place rounds on a lightly floured baking sheet.
Once again, cover with a kitchen towel, put in a warm spot, and let rise for about 30 minutes.
Yes, your rounds will rise! They look kind of like homemade hamburger buns. I recommend you start in on the pumpkin custard while everything is rising. The recipe for that one is below.
At this point, your doughnuts are ready for frying! In a large stockpot, heat about 2.5 inches of canola oil.
Be patient and wait until the temperature of the oil hits 350 degrees. I could give you my rant about how frying doughnuts really isn’t that bad if you have your oil at 350 degrees because the oil doesn’t actually seep into the doughnut, but I’ll refrain. I’ll just say, you can see how quickly these cook and how un-greasy they are when they’re done.
On a related note, does anyone have any fabulous advice for how to keep your oil at a relatively stable-ish temperature once it hits the target? Mine goes all over the place!
Put your doughnuts, 2 at a time (or whatever number you’re comfortable with) in the hot oil. Let fry for about a minute and then flip over to fry on the other side. Repeat as needed.
Then remove to paper towel covered plate. Some of my doughnuts were perfect and some were a tad too golden. I knew I could fix that with the maple bacon frosting, though.
Let the doughnuts cool.
And now for the pumpkin pastry cream.
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- 1 1/4 C whole milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/8 C all-purpose flour
- 2 T cornstarch
- 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 C pumpkin puree
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1 t vanilla
In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla to almost a boil.
While the milk is heating, in a separate hoot-proof bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar.
Sift together flour, cornstarch, and pumpkin pie spice, and whisk the dry ingredients into the sugar/egg mixture.
Whisk until smooth.
Whisk in the pumpkin puree, too.
When the milk is almost to a boil, remove from heat and slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking all the time to prevent curdling.
Pour it all back into the saucepan and continuously whisk over medium heat until it’s “boiling.” If you’ve ever made a custard before, you know what this means. Because this had the added pumpkin puree in it, it thickened the mixture up so it didn’t really come to a boil in the same way as an average custard. But after a minute, the custard should have a nice thick custardy consistency.
Remove it from heat and put into a separate bowl. Cover with plastic wrap so plastic is touching the top of the custard. Pop in the fridge to chill a bit.
And now we’re ready for the frosting! Now, I obviously put bacon on top of my doughnuts, mainly because I’ve never had the chance to go to Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland and drool over their bacon maple doughnuts whenever I see a photo of them or hear about them. Of course, you don’t have to add bacon to yours. Some might even say the bacon on these is just overkill. And, in a way, I agree. But it was so easy to add, I just had to. But seriously, these doughnuts will still be amazingly ridiculously awesome without the bacon. It just adds a little extra pizzazz.
Maple Bacon Frosting:
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- 1 C powdered sugar
- 1 1/2 T whole milk
- 1 T maple extract
- 4 slices of bacon
First you’ll want to cook up your bacon. Nice and crispy, please!
Whisk together milk and powdered sugar. Add in maple extract and whisk in. If you’re not happy with the consistency, adjust with more powdered sugar or more milk. Normally, I would add half maple extract and half maple syrup, but for some crazy reason, I couldn’t find any maple syrup in my apartment. I don’t know how I’ve lived here for almost 3 months with no maple syrup!
Once the doughnuts have cooled, you’re ready to fill and frost! I used my frosting bottles and a skinny tip to fill. I love these frosting bottles because they’re easier than pastry bags, but I hate that the opening is so small and it’s tough to actually get the frosting or filling into the bottle.
I inserted the frosting tip into the doughnut and squeezed about a tablespoon of filling into the doughnuts.
Then I drizzled a fair amount of maple frosting over them and crumbled some bacon on top.
And my Pumpkin Doughnuts with Maple Bacon Frosting were born. Holy moly. Nothing better than this.
Who knows when/if I’ll ever get to Portland’s Voodoo doughnuts. But I guess it’s not so important now. after all, the only thing that could make a bacon maple doughnut better is adding in a big pumpkin kick.
I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this doughnut and think you could do so much with each of the separate recipes. I loved that the doughnuts had a little pumpkin pie spice in them, but not enough to really overwhelm.
The custard inside the doughnuts was key. It had a nice creamy pumpkiny flavor and really gave the doughnut another necessary layer.
And that maple bacon frosting on top most definitely tied everything together. It had a super sweet, fall-like quality to it, topped with the perfect amount of saltiness.
Each bite of this was like heaven and I’m pretty sure I closed my eyes the entire time I was eating it. With lots of “mmms” thrown in, of course.
This is most definitely a once-a-season treat, but one that’s very well-worth it. And one that I’m going to have to seriously restrain myself against making again this season. Luckily, they are a little time intensive, because that might be the only thing that stops me.
So, yes. Oops I did it again. But it was so, so worth it. My doughnut pan remains sitting abandoned, but I think it will get over it. I’m pretty sure even my doughnut pan was jealous of these babies. Just like Britney, I’m really not sorry I made these doughnuts.
Then, do you think Britney could even make doughnuts? Do you think she spends any time in the kitchen at all? And furthermore, do you think she gets as obsessed with pumpkin season as the rest of us? These are the questions I ask myself.
Fall officially starts next week, but I’m claiming these are totally acceptable right now.
What’s the best doughnut you’ve ever had?