Whenever I buy a donut at a fast-food donut place, I always choose the same kind. A cruller. I love the eggy lightness and the slightly chewy texture. Up until last weekend, I didn't have a clue that they were made of choux pastry, the same kind of pastry dough used to make eclairs, profiteroles and cream puffs. What a revelation.
After the lousy spring break we had, we all decided that we deserved a treat. Before I could object, the oil was poured into the pot, the piping bag was out, star tip in place and the mixer was plugged in and waiting.
1 hour 5 mins
An easy, fool-proof way to make homemade French crullers
- 1 cup water
- 6 tbsps (3 oz.) unsalted butter
- 2 tsps (10 g) superfine sugar (I used regular sugar)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup (135 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 3 large eggs
- 1-2 egg whites, slightly beaten (I used 1)
- vegetable oil for frying
- honey glaze
- 1 1/2 cups (150 g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 to 4 tbsps milk or water (I used milk)
- Bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a brisk boil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in the flour all at once and continue stirring until the flour is completely incorporate. Keep stirring over medium-high heat. Lara says the more moisture you can remove, the more eggs you can mix in later which will result in a lighter pastry. When you see a thin film start to coat the bottom of the pan, the batter is ready. Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer. Use the paddle attachment to stir the dough for a minute to help it cool. Turn the mixer to medium speed and add one egg. Don’t add the next egg until the previous has been completely incorporated into the dough. Then add the egg whites a little bit at a time (I used 1 egg white) until the dough becomes smooth and glossy and holds a little shape (not much). Lara warns not to add too much egg white or else the crullers will become heavy. Transfer the dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch star tip.
- Fry the crullers in 2-inches (or more) of vegetable oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. The oil should register 370°F. While the oil is heating, cut a dozen 3-x3-inch squares of parchment. Lightly grease the squares on one side (I brushed with vegetable oil) and pipe a ring of dough onto each of the squares. When the oil has reached temperature, carefully place a cruller, paper-side up, into the hot oil. Do this one at a time unless you like the idea of hot oil burns and other disasters. After a minute or so, I would use tongs and a sharp knife tip to gently peel the parchment off the cruller. When the cruller turns golden (about 2 minutes), flip it over and let it fry for another couple of minutes before removing it to drain on a cooling rack or paper towels.
- Make the glaze: While the crullers cool, mix the confectioners’ sugar, honey, and milk together until smooth.
- When the crullers are cool to the touch, dip the top of each cruller into the honey glaze and set on a cooling rack to let the drips run off. When the glaze has set, the crullers are ready to serve.
- Crullers can also be baked. Preheat oven to 450°F. Pipe crullers onto a parchment-lined baking sheet at least 2-inches apart. Bake for five minutes then reduce oven to 350°F and bake another 15 minutes. Turn off heat, open the oven door a crack, and let crullers sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Glaze and serve.