Sometimes you start the day with a nourishing smoothie, and end it with a doughnut. It’s all about that balance.
Ever since I made these brioche doughnuts, my mind has been swirling with reasons (excuses) to make them again. After one glance over my shoulder at the bushel of almost dried out Thai bird chilies hanging in our kitchen, I knew my next move. Herein, we have the Thai Chili Coconut Cream Doughnuts. As an ode to some of our favorite Thai curries, which are deep with heat, yet balanced by creamy coconut milk, we are steeping the Thai bird chilies in a milky cream of coconut mixture to create the coconut pastry cream that is piped into your freshly fried doughnuts.
The combination of buttery brioche dough rolled in vanilla sugar and the slightly spicy, creamy coconut filling is the one of the best excuses I could ever think of. For your filling, you’ll use some cornstarch to help your custard thicken up like a pastry cream. No Thai chilies? You could definitely omit and stick to a coconut cream. Alternatively, you could experiment with a jalapeno or serrano pepper—just be sure to test along the way to make sure your filling doesn’t end up too fire-y hot.
These Thai Chili Coconut Cream Doughnuts are a great weekend project as the brioche dough is best prepped and shaped a day ahead, left to proof overnight in the refrigerator, and fried up on Sunday morning while you sip your coffee in your jammies.
Because the brioche doughnut dough takes a day to prepare (mostly inactive), it is great to prep the pastry cream the same day to mix the dough so it will be chilled and ready to use as soon as you you fry the doughnuts.
Here’s to a happy weekend!
- 1 Recipe brioche doughnuts , making sure to use a round cookie cutter without a center hole, to shape.***Please See Note About Timing
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup cream of coconut
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3–5 small red fresh or dried Thai bird chilies, with a small vertical slit cut into each
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- Prepare brioche doughnuts completely through frying and rolling in sugar. Set cooked doughnuts aside while preparing the filling.*
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Set nearby.
- In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, bring the milk, cream of coconut, coconut, vanilla bean and seeds, and Thai chilies to a simmer. Stir until sugar dissolves and then reduce heat to a simmer. Turn off heat and steep for 5 minutes. Strain the liquid into a medium bowl to separate out the shredded coconut and Thai bird chilies. Discard the solids and return the liquid to the saucepan.
- Gradually pour about 1/3 of the warm milk mixture into the bowl with the eggs, whisking constantly to prevent the warm liquid from cooking the eggs. Pour the milk/egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk mixture, turn the saucepan back to a low heat and whisk constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon without dripping off. Turn off heat and cool custard completely.
- Transfer the cooled custard to a piping bag fitted with a small pointy tip. Insert the tip of the piping bag into one of the prepared doughnuts and squeeze the filling into the doughnut until you can feel the sides of the doughnut puffing out slightly. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts.
*Alternatively, prepare the filling on the same day you prepare the doughnut dough. Chill while you fry the doughnuts and then fill the just-fried doughnuts with the chilled pastry cream.