Oven-Baked Purple Sweet Potato Custard Doughnuts – Recipe

No Sugar November is officially over! Good thing too, because it's now Chanukkah: the time of fried unhealthy things. Namely doughnuts. HOWEVER, I couldn't bring myself to go straight from healthy eating to deep-fried doom... so I compromised and made these baked doughnuts instead.

I'm trying to get into the habit of using stuff I already have. Since I had lots of purple sweet potato in the freezer (as you do), I was determined to somehow turn it into doughnuts. I knew it could be done with regular sweet potatoes, but I wasn't sure if it would look appetising with purple.

Whether or not you like the lilac hue, you have to admit: the fluffy centre and oozing custard is appealing. As you can see above, I was impatient and broke open a freshly-baked doughnut to check the insides. It's got the perfect texture: in fact, you could quite happily eat it as a sweet breakfast roll, as well as deep-fry it like a regular doughnut. I wonder if it would steam well to make mantou? I'll have to try it again one day.

Set aside a few hours to make these: the dough is yeasted and has two proofing stages, and then needs to be baked in batches.

Ready? Here we go!

Ingredients for Doughnuts:

250g purple sweet potato, cooked and mashed
50g unsalted butter, melted
1tsp milk, dissolved in 100ml warm milk (leave for 5 mins until foamy)
150g caster sugar
1/2tsp salt
1tsp vanilla
1 egg
450g plan flour + extra for kneading

Ingredients for Crème Pâtissière:

250ml milk
2 eggs
100g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla bean paste
4tbsp cornflour
40g butter

Ingredients for Ube Glaze:

100g white chocolate chips
80ml milk
1tsp ube flavouring


1) Combine all of the ingredients for the doughnuts together, tip onto a clean surface and knead with additional flour until you have a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, oil the top of the dough and cover for two hours until doubled in size.

2) Punch the dough back down, roll out on a floured surface until about 2cm thick and cut out discs of dough with a cookie cutter (I made 12 out of the dough: it'll depend on what size cutter you use). Place the discs on baking paper-lined baking trays, cover again wit clingfilm and proof for another hour until they're puffy. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C and bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool before filling with crème pâtissière.

3) During the second proof, make the crème pâtissière: whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla and cornflour in a heatproof bowl, and bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan. Immediately pour the boiling milk over the egg mixture whilst whisking furiously (this 'tempers' the eggs), and pour everything back in the pan on a low heat. Add the butter and keep whisking until you have a very thick custard, take off the heat and cover with clingfilm (make sure it touches the surface of the custard to stop a skin from forming). Let it cool to room temperature before using.

4) To fill the doughnuts, fill a piping bag (preferably fitted with a filling tip – I just used a pointy star tip) with your custard, jam it into the side of each doughnut and pipe until the doughnut starts to bulge. Beware of over-filling your doughnuts: exploding doughnuts are a thing.

5) To make the glaze, microwave the chocolate and milk in short 10 second bursts until steaming, stir to combine, and add the ube flavouring. Let cool a little to thicken a little, and dip our doughnuts.

Have fun, forget about the waistline, and chag sameach.


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