Homemade French Crullers with Honey Glaze.
Homemade French Crullers, made with tender, buttery pâte à choux and dipped in sweet honey glaze, are simple enough for a lazy Sunday morning breakfast but pretty enough for a special occasion brunch.
French Crullers were not in my baking plan for the week.
I had intended to bake a strawberry cake with pistachio Italian Meringue Buttercream. If that sounds as good to you as it does to me, it’s coming up next. And, it will be baked in my brand new double oven! Which will be delivered TODAY. Halle-freeking-lujah and praise the baking gods!
As mentioned earlier in the week in this post about Salted Caramel Doughnut Holes, my oven went out last week. While I’ve pushed the limits of what can be baked in a toaster oven, I don’t think baking a cake in there is a great idea. So, out came the fryer and hello French Crullers, where have you been all my life.
Traditional French Crullers
“Crullers” are kind of a broad category of pastry. Traditional Crullers are fried rectangles of dough twisted into a sort of braided torpedo. Sometimes, Crullers are made with a batter more akin to a cake doughnut. But, French Crullers are lovely fluted, ring-shaped doughnuts made from pâte à choux that’s fried and then dipped in a sweet glaze.
Pâte à choux is that awesome, buttery, eggy dough used to make things like Chocolate Eclairs. It can be a bit tricky. But, the version used for these French Crullers is easy-peasy. Frying the dough eliminates many of the challenges of baking pâte à choux. The dough comes together quickly, and this is your reward….
A bit of Cruller trivia for you…
Apparently, Crullers were referenced in The Wizard of Oz. Aunt Em offered Hunk, Hickory and Zeke a cruller after scolding them for being “three shiftless farmhands”. So, Aunt Em thought they were screw ups, but at least they got a Cruller out of it.
You don’t have to be a shiftless farmhand to deserve a French Cruller. You deserve one simply because it’s Sunday and they are delicious. No other reason required.
The above recipe makes 9 or 10 French Crullers, depending on how thick your piping is. The doughnuts are best the day they are made, but still pretty good the next day. I made the ones pictured here yesterday and am eating one right now, as I type this. Still delicious.
Used in this recipe:
More popular doughnut and pastry recipes:
- Overnight Apple Fritters
- Overnight Homemade Glazed Doughnuts
- Salted Caramel Doughnut Holes
- Chocolate Eclairs
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
French Crullers are so easy that you could whip up a batch on a Saturday morning, no problem. They might look like special occasion pastry, but they’re as easy to make as waffles.
NOTE: This recipe calls for a larger amount of salt than what’s typical for cruller dough. Choux is a bland dough, and I love the flavor the extra salt contributes as well as the contrast between the salt in the doughnuts and the sweet glaze. But, of course, this is a matter of personal taste. Feel free to reduce the salt by as much as half if you prefer.
FOR THE DOUGHNUTS:
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp whole milk
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp water
- 8 tbsp (1 stick) butter
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 3 large whole eggs
- 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
- 1–2 tbsp grated lemon zest (about 1 large lemon)
FOR THE GLAZE:
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2–3 tbsp milk
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a rolling boil over medium heat. (A rolling boil means that bubbles are “rolling” across the entire surface of the liquid.)
- Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until combined and throughout moistened.
- Return the pan to the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring vigorously the entire time. The dough will be very thick and stirring it will give your arm a good workout. Rather than “stirring”, think of it as kneading the dough with a wooden spoon. After 2-3 minutes, a thick film should have formed over the bottom of the pan and the dough should feel smooth.
- Dump the dough into the bowl of an electric standing mixer and use the spoon to spread it out into a somewhat thin layer, covering the bottom of the bowl and moving a few inches up the sides. Let cool, uncovered, until the dough is just slightly warm – about 15 minutes.
- Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, and add 2 of the eggs to the dough. Beat on medium speed until the eggs have been fully incorporated into the dough, stoping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the 3rd egg to the dough. Beat on medium until fully incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg white and lemon zest. Beat on medium until fully incorporated.
- Scrape down the sides of the bowl, cover and let chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, heat a fryer to 375 degrees. Alternatively, add enough vegetable oil to a deep fry pan or saucepan to come 3 or 4 inches up the sides and heat to 375 degrees.
- Cut out ten 3-inch by 3-inch squares of parchment paper and brush each lightly with vegetable oil.
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and scoop some into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Holding the pastry bag vertically over one of the parchment squares, pipe an even circle of dough, just making the ends meet and connect. Repeat with the remaining dough and parchment squares.
- Gently place a cruller onto a slotted spoon, along with it’s paper, and lower it into the hot oil, paper and all. Hold the spoon under the cruller for 4 or 5 seconds to prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the fryer. Fry the doughnuts 3 or 4 at a time for 5 1/2 to 6 minutes, removing the paper with mental tongs after 1 minute and flipping them over after 2 1/2 minutes. The crullers should be a deep golden brown on all sides.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the doughnuts from the oil to drain on paper towels. Cool completely before glazing.
MAKE THE GLAZE:
- Add all glaze ingredients to a small bowl and stir to combine. Add enough milk to create a runny glaze that’s still thick enough to adhere to the tops of the doughnuts.
- When the crullers are completely cool, dip the tops of each one into the glaze.
*NOTE: It can be a bit tricky to know when the crullers are cooked all the way through. Color is an important indicator – they should be a deep golden brown. If you like, test the cook time by cooking the first doughnut by itself. If it collapses on itself after removing it from the oil to cool, increase the cooking time for the rest of the batch.
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