Dirty Chai Cream Filled Doughnuts are the best kind of weekend brunch treat: doughnuts and coffee in one! They're deep fried, dusted in chai spiced sugar, then filled with an espresso-chai pastry cream. They're light as air, not too sweet, and the perfect balance of cozy fall spices and rich espresso. All you need on a Saturday morning!
Pour yeast into a small bowl and stir in 3 tablespoons of warm water. Add a pinch of granulated sugar and let sit for about 5 minutes. You'll know it's ready when it's foamy.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, the activated yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the eggs and set aside.
In a small saucepan, over medium/low heat, melt the milk and butter until butter has just melted. Remove from the heat immediately and add water and vanilla extract. Let mixture sit for 1-2 minutes to cool off a bit.
Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated. Add the remaining 3/4 cup of flour and stir with the spatula for about 2 minutes. Dough will be sticky.
Place the dough is a large, greased bowl. I just sprayed mine with cooking spray. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm spot and allow dough to rest until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Once dough has risen, punch it down and add the last 2 tablespoons of flour. Knead with your hands to combine. Divide the dough into 16 even pieces. Roll into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 30 minutes.
Add oil to a large, heavy bottomed pot or dutch oven. Heat to 375℉. Carefully lower a few doughnuts at a time into the oil, using a spider or slotted spoon. Fry for 1-2 minutes per side, or until doughnuts are golden and cooked through. (Make sure your oil doesn't get too hot, or else the doughnuts won't cook through in the middle! You'll have to monitor the oil temperature throughout the frying process.) Shake off excess oil and roll in the chai-spiced sugar to coat. Let cool on a cooling rack lined with paper towels. Repeat until all doughnuts are fried.
Once doughnuts are cool enough to handle, using a toothpick or skewer, poke a hole through the center of the doughnuts lengthwise, to help with the filling process. Add pastry cream to a pastry bag fitted with a small-medium tip, and pipe the filling into the doughnuts until filled. Enjoy!
In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon, cardamom, espresso powder, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice until incorporated. Set aside.
Add milk and vanilla to a medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium-high heat. Once simmering, remove from heat and set aside.
Add granulated sugar, brown sugar, and egg yolks to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until very thick, about 3 minutes. (Alternately, you can use electric beaters and a mixing bowl.) Add the cornstarch and beat for another minute or so, or until incorporated. Lower the speed, and gradually add half of the hot milk into the egg/sugar mixture and mix until combined. Add the egg/sugar mixture to the pan with the remaining hot milk. Heat over medium heat until thickened and boiling, whisking constantly, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in espresso, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice. Let cool, then put in a container and place plastic wrap directly onto surface of pastry cream. Chill in the refrigerator until cold, at least 3 hours.