Five Spice Crullers with Spicy Thai Tea Glaze

five spice cruller with thai tea glaze

Please. You didn't really think I was done overusing all the spices we brought back from Bangkok, did you?

It started with Dominique telling me there's a Doughnut Plant in Brooklyn now and me responding that the Doughnut Plant here just really isn't as good but I still go because doughnuts, y'know? And also the only other place I know to get doughnuts is Paris Baguette. Suddenly I wanted doughnuts, good doughnuts, like, RIGHT NOW. I made a ton of sufganiyot for Chanukah but that wasn't what I wanted and I didn't have the patience to wait for all that rising and shaping and assembling, my need for doughnuts was overwhelming and urgent. Then I remembered I'd recently bookmarked a cruller* recipe in one of the cookbooks I've been reading and I realized suddenly I could have doughnuts in no time! Or about an hour, which is way sooner than I'd have them waiting for dough to rise.

I did a few different sizes of these and I liked the mini ones piped in a double ring the best. Not only did they look good but they lasted a little longer out of the fryer. Crullers are definitely a consume within two hours sort of doughnut.

What makes crullers different from other doughnuts is that they're made with pate a choux instead of a yeasted dough. So if you've ever made profiteroles, eclairs or gougeres then you're most of the way to knowing how to make crullers!

This basic recipe can be made in endless variations if you're not quite as obsessed with five spice as I am right now.

*Apparently we have multiple types of crullers in America. These guys are what we would call French crullers though actually they're based off a Viennese spritzkapfen recipe.

Ingredients

For the Crullers:

  • 1 cup Water
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) Butter
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Five Spice
  • 1 cup AP Flour
  • 3-4 Eggs
  • A lot of oil

For the Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Thai Tea
  • 2-3 finely chopped Thai Chillies
  • 2 cups Powdered Sugar

Special Equipment: A candy/deep fry thermometer, piping bag, medium star piping tip (I used a closed tip similar to this one but I bought it in Korea so I'm not 100% sure of its Ateco equivalent, the original recipe I used recommends this one), parchment paper and a large heavy bottom pot or dutch oven for frying.

Making the Glaze:

  1. In a small sauce pan heat the milk just to a simmer. Add in Thai tea. Remove from heat and cover and steep ten minutes.
  2. Strain out tea and add finely chopped peppers to the infused milk, let cool to room temperature.
  3. Sift powdered sugar into a large bowl, whisk in milk slowly until you reach the desired consistency. Use immediately or store with plastic wrap directly touching the surface of the glaze.

The Crullers:

  1. Bring the water, butter, sugar, salt and five spice to a full boil in a medium heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add in the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a ball. Reduce the heat and cook for about another two minutes, stirring constantly until the dough creates a film on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Move the dough into a large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl and add in the eggs one at a time. I like to crack them into a ramekin before adding them into the mixer because I'd be lying if I said I hadn't accidentally dropped half an egg shell in the bowl before. The goal is to make a stiff shiny dough that holds its shape. Whether you incorporate three or four eggs will depend on how much moisture you cooked out in step one.
  3. Move the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
  4. Attach a deep fry thermometer to a large heavy bottomed pan or dutch oven (I always deep fry in my dutch oven) and fill with 3 inches of oil. Heat the oil over high heat to 374 degrees Fahrenheit or, if it's marked on your thermometer, the deep fry line.
  5. While the oil is heating, cut fourteen 2.5" parchment squares and line them up on your work area. Pipe a double ring inside each square.
  6. Set up a wire rack over a sheet pan next to your frying area for cooling and draining.
  7. Now it's time to fry. Place the dough circles, two to three at a time, into the oil still attached to their papers, dough side down. After twenty seconds use tongs to peel off the papers (this is tricky the first few times, but you'll get the hang of it). Fry an additional minute and thirty seconds before flipping over. Fry another two minutes and use tongs or a slotted spoon to remove to the rack. Repeat until all the crullers have been fried, pausing between rounds to reheat the oil to 374 if necessary.
  8. Once all the crullers are fried, it's time to glaze. Dip the top of the doughnuts in the glaze and then flip back over onto the rack to let the glaze run down. (I decided to do a double glaze with both the batches I made, so after about 5 minutes when the first round of glaze was mostly set, I repeated this process.)
  9. Serve within one to two hours.

Doughnut Plant NYC

But in Seoul. I know, you're like "Hey Alana, didn't you get married, quit your job, go on a long honeymoon and then move to another country? Don't you have some FEELINGS to talk about?". Look, I do. I've got a lot swirling around in this head of mine. One of the things I've got swirling around is how much joy I've been getting out of reviewing silly things like Soft Serve ice cream on Instagram. I've thought about starting a different Instagram just for microreviews or another blog for full on reviews and recipes or both but I'm just not ready for that level of commitment yet. For now, we're going to keep everything messy and mixed and I'm just going to test these food blogging waters. And if you really don't care about doughnuts, I wrote a new About Me.

There are three main doughnut camps in New York: Dough (too inconsistent), Peter Pan (too sweet) and Doughnut Plant. I am one hundred percent Team Doughnut Plant. When I would catsit for my Uncle in Chelsea, my biggest struggle was not going to Doughnut Plant every. single. day. Their doughnuts are fried consistently, the seasonal flavor changes are great and I'm a sucker for the "Dough Seeds" which is the Doughnut Plant version of cream or jelly filled. I'm normally a plain glazed or doughnut hole kind of gal, but the first time I had the crème brûlée doughnut I finally understood what a filled doughnut was meant to be. So when I saw there was a Doughnut Plant down the hill from us in Itaewon, my heart filled with joy.

I finally went this past Tuesday and it was, I guess unsurprisingly, a little disappointing. The shop is much smaller than the New York locations (especially the one in Chelsea) and the selection of flavors was pretty limited. They did have the classic crème brûlée dough seed but no seasonal ones. I like to keep it simple so I stuck with my boo, crème brûlée and added a honey vanilla. The crème brûlée seemed flatter than I remembered and the cream filling to dough ratio was a little high. In New York, the doughnut is usually filled with a thick, classic, vanilla bean pastry cream but the cream here was really loose and sweet and the brûléed top just didn't quite balance it out. The honey vanilla was pretty small and the texture was more dense like an old fashioned doughnut than the yeasty fluffiness I was expecting. The honey flavor was not strong, which isn't surprising since honey is pretty expensive here. These were fine doughnuts for the KRW 1,900 ($1.90) each I spent on them but they didn't meet my stupid high expectations. I'm sure I'll still be back because even ok doughnuts are better than no doughnuts at all.

I scoured my photos for the New York version of these doughnuts; I'm sorry to say I could only find one from when we all thought heavy Instagram filters and frames were the bees knees, but I'll give it to you anyways. I mean, just look at how fluffy these bad boys are!

I feel like I should come up with a ridiculous rating system.

Doughnut Plant NYC, Seoul gets three out of five carrots(?).