Pumpkin Cronuts

With cold weather comes comfort foods, and doughnuts are right at the top of my list…as are croissants. Since I’m also in the middle of my annual pumpkin frenzy, it only made sense to combine the three items to create a batch of Pumpkin Cronuts.


Pumpkin cronuts with coffee watermarked
I don’t want to scare you away, but I have to admit that these are a lot of work. The good news is, it can all be spread out over a couple of days, so there won’t be any last-minute panic at all. The goal is to fry the cronuts on the same day you plan to serve them, and a little careful planning will make this a slam dunk.

On the day before you plan to serve them, begin making the dough. Don’t start this late in the evening – give yourself at least 4 hours. The dough is rolled and folded, then chilled. Rolled, folded, chilled. Repeat. It isn’t hard, honest. Every forty-five minutes you roll and fold…takes less than 5 minutes.

Croissants require dedication and patience, but there is truly nothing difficult about them.

I was worried about adding pumpkin to my dough, afraid it would ruin the flaky layers, but it worked very well. I made a few croissants out of the dough just out of curiosity, and though they weren’t quite as crispy as usual, there were no complaints from the menfolk, so I call that a win.

If you do nothing but make the cronuts and roll them in cinnamon sugar, you’ll probably still be thrilled with them. As far as I’m concerned, the filling and icing are optional. Personally, I prefer them without filling, but I get outvoted.

Don’t be afraid to customize these goodies. If you don’t like pastry cream, fill the cronuts with pudding – or even whipped cream, if they will be served promptly. For a lighter icing (my recipe is rich and buttery) try dipping the tops in melted white chocolate, or use a simple milk/powdered sugar glaze. Or…leave them plain!

Pumpkin Cronuts without filling or icing...just cinnamon sugar.

Pumpkin Cronuts without filling or icing…just cinnamon sugar.

The important part of this post is the cronut recipe itself, and since I can only create one printable recipe per post, I’ll add the filling and icing recipes below.

Pumpkin Cronuts
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Author:
Makes 12-15 pastries, depending on the size of your cutter. And lots of yummy "cronut holes".
Ingredients
  • 1 cup very warm milk
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter
  • Peanut oil for frying (at least ½ gallon)
  • ½ cup cinnamon sugar, placed in shallow bowl
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl (a stand mixer works best), combine the warm milk and yeast. Allow the mixture to sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Mix in the pumpkin, 1 tablespoon butter, vanilla, sugar, salt, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat well.
  3. Add 2 additional cups of flour and allow the machine to knead the dough for 4-5 minutes. The dough should be soft, but it should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. If it is sticking, add as much of the remaining ½ cup flour as necessary. (If kneading by hand, after stirring in the 2 cups of flour, drop the dough onto a well-floured surface. Knead for 6 minutes.)
  4. Cover and allow the dough to rise in a warm place until double - about 1 hour.
  5. Punch down dough. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough a few times, pat it into a rectangular shape, and place the dough in a heavy plastic zipper bag (or wrap in plastic) and place in the refrigerator.
  6. Remove the 2 sticks of butter from the refrigerator. Working with one stick at a time, place it between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it out to 6½ inches by 4 inches. To get straight edges you will need to trim the sides with a spatula or knife, spreading the excess back over the butter as you go. Don't worry - just trim it and smoosh it where it needs to go! Wrap each piece in parchment and put them back in the refrigerator to chill for ½ hour.
  7. When the butter has chilled, remove the dough (hang on to that bag...you'll need it again) and roll the dough out to 12 inches by 8 inches, with the long side facing you.
  8. Place one piece of chilled butter directly in the center, with the short side facing you.Fold the right side of the dough over the butter and press the dough around it gently.
  9. Place the other piece of chilled butter on the dough directly above the other piece of butter. Fold the left side of the dough over the top of the butter and press and pinch the dough all the way around to seal it.
  10. Gently roll the dough out to measure 12 inches by 8 inches with the long side facing you. Fold the right side over one third, and the left side over the right side. The open edge should be on the right, like a book. Put the dough back in the bag and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
  11. After 45 minutes, remove the dough. Roll dough out to measure 12 inches by 8 inches, with the long side facing you. Fold the right side over one third, and the left side over the right side. Return to the bag and place in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
  12. Repeat one more time. Refrigerate until ready to use. (You may use right away, but the dough will have better flavor if you let it rest overnight.)
  13. Remove the dough from the refrigerator. Roll dough to measure 12 inches by 8 inches, with the long side facing you. Fold the right side over one third, and the left side over the right side. Roll dough out to measure about ½-inch thick. (3/4-inch if you want very tall cronuts.) Cut with a round biscuit cutter, being careful not to twist the cutter. Cut straight down and lift straight up. If you have a doughnut cutter, use that! Otherwise, cut the center out with a the cap from a soda bottle or a cannoli form. (The centers make delicious "cronut holes".) Keep the shapes as close together as possible, because any cronuts made with re-rolled dough will be a little lopsided and won't rise as well.
  14. Cover the cronuts with a light towel and allow them to rise for at least an hour. They won't double, but you should see a difference.
  15. In a large, tall saucepan, heat approximately 3 inches of oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 370 F. Drop a few cronuts in at a time, giving them plenty of room to move around. Cook for about 1 minute on each side, until a rich golden brown. Remove from oil and place on paper towels to drain.
  16. While the next batch is cooking, roll the warm cronuts in cinnamon sugar.
  17. Watch the temperature of your oil closely, as it can change quickly. You may have to adjust the heat or remove the pan from the burner briefly if it gets too hot. If your oil is too cool the cronuts will soak up the oil and be greasy. If it is too hot, the outside will cook and the inside will be doughy. 160-170 F works perfectly.
  18. Once all of the cronuts are cooled, poke two holes with a wooden skewer or chopstick on opposite sides of the pastry, half way up the side. Guide the skewer to the left and the right without poking through, and then pipe pastry cream into each hole with a pastry bag and bismark tip or medium round tube tip, pointing it left and then right and repeating on the opposite side.
  19. Once filled, dip the top in icing, glaze or melted white chocolate if desired.

See this dough? Too sticky! Add a little more flour.

See this dough? Too sticky! Add a little more flour.

Trim the butter to size.

Trim the butter to size.

Spread the trimmings evenly over the top.

Spread the trimmings evenly over the top.

Roll and measure the dough.

Roll and measure the dough.

Place one piece of butter in center of dough.

Place one piece of butter in center of dough.

Fold right side over and cover with 2nd piece of butter. Then fold left over butter and seal.

Fold right side over and cover with 2nd piece of butter. Then fold left over butter and seal.

Roll and cut.

Roll and cut.

Cutting the center holes.

Cutting the center holes.

Fry them for 1 minute on each side

Fry them for 1 minute on each side

Poking a channel for the filling to follow.

Poking a channel for the filling to follow.

Add filling.

Add filling.



Pumpkin cronuts horiz with watermark

PASTRY CREAM:
1/8 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
2 egg yolks
2/3 cup half & half
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, sugar, water, and egg yolks. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the half & half to a simmer. It should be hot and bubbly, but not boiling.
  3. Pour half of the hot half & half into the bowl with the cornstarch mixture, whisking well.  Pour the mixture in the bowl back into the pan, whisking.
  4. Whisking continuously, continue to cook the pastry cream until it thickens – approximately 2 minutes. Whisk briskly to remove any lumps, and remove from the heat. Stir in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Cover and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. If you are making the cream ahead, keep refrigerated until ready to use.
  5. If the cream is too thick to pipe into the cronuts, try whisking it briefly. If necessary, add a small amount of milk.
    Whisk half & half into cornstarch mixture

    Whisk half & half into cornstarch mixture

    ...then return it to the pan and whisk away!

    …then return it to the pan and whisk away!

 

ICING:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup white chocolate chips

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the brown sugar, white sugar, milk, and butter to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook at a low boil for 2 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and add vanilla, powdered sugar, and chocolate chips. Whisk vigorously until smooth.
  3. Adjust to dipping consistency by adding additional milk or powdered sugar, if necessary. May be reheated slowly.

So…have I scared you off? I know it may look overwhelming, but if you just take the directions one step at a time you can DO this!  I have the shortest attention span in the whole world and I can do it…and so can you. Don’t be shy! Please leave me a photo of your masterpieces; I’d love to see them!

Lorinda

Chocolaty Croissant Puffs

broads collage aprilEach month a fun group of bloggers shares recipes that represent a theme that one of us picks. This month that theme is “Celebrating Chocolate” and I have the pressure honor of being first up to bat.

I’m sure the other gals will take it much easier on you, but I brought a recipe that is a wee bit challenging and (oh, please don’t run away) time-consuming. It is also worth every minute spent in the kitchen!

When the Cronut excitement hit last year, my daughter immediately challenged me to create my own recipe for these flaky little fried pastries. She loves my croissants and assumed Cronuts would be a simple transition. Do you know what? She was right! They came out just as I had envisioned them – a rarity, for sure.


cronut plated vertical closeup watermark

This slightly sweetened croissant dough takes time to do properly, but it’s one of those processes that is spread out over two days. The dough can be started in the afternoon, turned and rolled several times over the course of the evening, and then put in the refrigerator until the next day (or even the day after!) when the shapes are then cut out, allowed to rise, and then fried, rolled in sugar, filled, and frosted.

I know, I know. It sounds complicated, but if you follow the instructions one simple step at a time, you will be rewarded with this:

cronut plated vertical many watermark

So…here is my recipe for Chocolaty Croissant Puffs. Don’t let the length of it intimidate you; I get a little wordy when I’m trying to explain how to do something. Just be glad I’m not standing behind you in the kitchen, micromanaging you! Not that I ever do that, of course. Ahem.

Also, for some helpful hints you might want to check out my CROISSANT blog

Chocolaty Croissant Puffs
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Author:
Flaky layered doughnuts filled with chocolate pastry cream and iced with a ganache glaze. Makes12-14
Ingredients
  • 1 package active-dry yeast
  • 1⅓ cups warm milk
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cold butter
  • A shallow bowl of sugar for rolling pastry in
  • oil for frying, enough to fill pot 3" (I prefer peanut oil)
  • ......
  • Pastry Cream:
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup half & half
  • ¼-1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ..........
  • Chocolate Glaze
  • 6 ounces dark chocolate (or 1 cup chocolate chips)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ½ cup half & half
  • 1 teaspoon powdered egg whites or meringue powder (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) combine the yeast and warm milk. Let it sit until dissolved - about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the butter, vanilla, sugar, salt, and 1 cup of the flour and stir until combined.
  3. Switch to a dough hook and slowly add 2 cups of the remaining flour. Knead with the dough hook for 3-4 minutes. Add the remaining ½ cup of flour if needed to make the dough come away cleanly from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Cover with a towel and let the dough rise until doubled - about 1 hour.
  5. Drop the dough on a lightly floured surface. Turn it over to coat, and knead a few times. Place the dough in a large plastic zipper bag, or wrap loosely in plastic wrap. Put in the refrigerator.
  6. Working with one stick of butter, pound and roll the butter between two pieces of waxed paper or parchment, making a 6½-inch by 4-inch rectangle. If necessary, trim the butter to get reasonably straight edges and use a knife or spatula to spread the trimmed butter back onto the rectangle. Place in the refrigerator. Repeat with the other stick of butter.
  7. Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Place chilled dough on floured surface and roll it out to approximately 12x8 inches, with the long side towards you.
  9. Put one piece of chilled butter in the middle of the dough, with the butter's short edge towards you. Fold the dough from the right, over the butter, pressing down gently. Place the other piece of butter on the dough that is covering the first piece of butter and fold the left side over, pressing the seam to close. (It is like a book, with the "open" edge on the right and the short edge facing you.
  10. Roll out gently to measure 12x8 inches. Fold into thirds again, press the edges to seal, and put the dough back into the plastic bag. Refrigerate for 45 minutes.
  11. With the long sealed edge on the right, roll out again to 12x8 inches. Fold into thirds and place back in the bag in the refrigerator for 45 minutes
  12. Repeat one more time and refrigerate overnight.
  13. The next day, roll the dough out to measure 12x8 inches. Fold into thirds. Roll it out again, to approximately ½-inch thick. Cut shapes out with a flower-shaped cookie cutter or a round biscuit cutter. Lift the cutter straight up - don't twist it. Use a small round cutter (a bottle cap works in a pinch) to cut a circle out of the center of each pastry. These doughnut holes are wonderful when fried! Cover with a towel and let rise until almost double, about 1 hour.
  14. Heat oil to 370 degrees in a deep pot, with the oil about 3 inches deep. Keep a close watch on the temperature, as it will change quickly as dough is added and removed. It is important to keep the temperature near 370 degrees to keep the pastry from absorbing oil.
  15. Slide a few pieces of dough into the pan, leaving enough room for them to move around. Cook for approximately 1 minute on each side, or until a light golden brown. Remove with a "spider" or slotted spoon. Place on paper towels to drain, with more paper towels over the top. When cool enough to handle, roll the bottom and sides in sugar. Repeat until all of the doughnuts and the holes have been fried and sugared.
  16. MAKE THE PASTRY CREAM:
  17. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, sugar, water, and egg yolks. Beat or whisk well.
  18. In a medium saucepan on medium heat, heat the half & half until it's hot and bubbly. Pour half of it over the egg mixture, whisking briskly. Pour the egg mixture back into the hot half & half. Whisk continuously on medium heat until thick, about 2 minutes.
  19. Remove from heat and add the chocolate. Whisk until incorporated. Cover and let it cool, stirring occasionally. When completely cool, put the pastry cream into a pastry bag with a bismark tip or a medium round tube tip.
  20. With a skewer, poke a hole in one side of a pastry. Insert the skewer to the left as far as you can without poking it through the side of the pastry, then to the right. Put the tube into the hole you just created and squeeze filling in each direction. Repeat on the other side of the pastry. Each doughnut should have two holes. NOTE: If you prefer, you can cut each pastry across the equator, add filling and replace top. OR you can "plug" the bottom with a small piece of one of the doughnut holes and fill the core from the top.
  21. MAKE THE GLAZE:
  22. Melt the chocolate in a small saucepan over the lowest heat setting. Add the butter, corn syrup, and vanilla. Stir. Add the powdered sugar alternately with the half and half until the mixture is fairly thin. Adjust the amount of liquid as necessary. If you want a firm glaze, add the powdered egg whites or meringue powder and stir well.
  23. Dip the top of each pastry and decorate with candy flowers or sprinkles if desired.

 

Cut out the shapes (save the "holes"...they're the best part!)

Cut out the shapes (save the “holes”…they’re the best part!)

Risen - look at those layers!

Risen – look at those layers!

Ready to fry.

Ready to fry.

Fry for 1 minute, flip, and fry for another minute.

Fry for 1 minute, flip, and fry for another minute.

roll in sugar

roll in sugar

Options, left to right: plug bottom and fill the core, slice horizontally and fill, or fill using pastry tip.

Options, left to right: plug bottom and fill the core, slice horizontally and fill, or fill using pastry tip.

Insert skewer to the left, then the right on both sides.

Insert skewer to the left, then the right on both sides.

Pipe in the pastry cream.

Pipe in the pastry cream.

Like croissants, these are best eaten the same day they are made. With a little planning, there would be plenty of time to fry them in the morning for a brunch, because the pastry cream and glaze can be made the day before, just like the dough. (They are both fine in the refrigerator for several days…just let the cream soften at room temperature and re-heat the glaze gently.) You could also save time by using instant pudding for the filling.

A little chewy, a little flaky, and sinfully rich, these sweet puffs taste as beautiful as they look.

cronut plated vertical watermark

Be sure to come back to see what the other bloggers bring. I can assure you there will be some absolute recipe gems! Links to their posts will be added each day. Enjoy!

April 7th. Chocolaty Croissant Puffs from The Rowdy Baker
April 8th. Double Chocolate Cheesecake Pie from Baking in a Tornado
April 10th Iced Mocha Latte Chocolate Cake from Tampa Cake Girl
April 11th Raspberry Candied Bacon Dark Chocolate Brownies from Cooking from a Stay at Home Mom
April 12th Chocolate Covered Strawberry Ladybugs from Hun…What’s for Dinner?
April 13th Chocolate Champagne Raspberry Truffle from Crumbs in my Mustachio

That’s it for this month. Thank you for coming by and indulging!
Lorinda