Lockdown Comforts: Sourdough Doughnuts

What is one thing EVERYONE made in the first lockdown? Sourdough. Today’s lockdown comfort is in homage to that quintessential lockdown comfort, by making the recipe easier and turning it into a delicious treat: DOUGHNUTS. Here is Gizzi Erskine’s truly scrumptious Sourdough Doughnuts with White Chocolate Custard and Sour Cherry Jam recipe from her new book Restore.


Sourdough Doughnuts with White Chocolate Custard and Sour Cherry Jam

Preparation time 30 minutes, plus 24 hours rising and 48 hours proving

Cooking time 20 minutes (for all 20 doughnuts)

MAKES 20 doughnuts




650g strong white flour

60g caster sugar

7g sachet of dried yeast

35g Sourdough Starter (page 270–71)

150ml tepid water

4 eggs, whisked

125g melted butter



about 2 litres sunflower or rapeseed oil, for deep-frying, plus extra for greasing

caster sugar, for tossing



250ml whole milk

1 vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds scraped out

10g plain flour

10g cornflour

50g caster sugar

4 free-range egg yolks

200g white chocolate, broken into pieces

200ml whipping cream

400g Sour Cherry Jam (see Glut of Jams on page 110), blitzed to a puree

You will need a stand mixer and two piping bags.


Make the Dough

First, make your dough. Put all of the dough ingredients, except the butter and the eggs, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and mix well. With your mixer at medium speed, add the eggs and allow them to become incorporated before pouring in the warm melted butter. Beat for about 8 minutes, until it starts to come away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. Transfer to a larger oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film (to prevent sticking) and leave in a warm place, like an airing cupboard or a sunny windowsill, until it has doubled in size. As this is a very enriched dough, and it contains sourdough starter, it will need a slow rise, so be patient! Leave it for a full day (9–12 hours) and then overnight. The next day, take huge pleasure in knocking all the air out of the dough, then give it a little knead to ensure any extra air is squeezed out. Return the dough to the cleaned and re-oiled bowl, cover with oiled cling film and leave in the fridge for another 2 days for a very, very slow prove.


Make the Creme Pâtissiere

If you are organised, you can make the creme pâtissiere the day before portioning the dough and frying the doughnuts – it benefits from being chilled overnight (or, make it while the proved and portioned pieces of dough are rising).

For the creme pâtissiere, heat the milk into a saucepan with the vanilla seeds over a medium heat, but don’t let it boil. Mix the flours and sugar in a large bowl and whisk in the egg yolks to form a smooth paste, then once the milk is warm, slowly pour it into the egg mixture, whisking as you go. It will quickly thicken. Once all the milk is added, you can pass it through a sieve for a really smooth, silky creme. Leave to cool.


Chocolate Time!

Gently melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until relatively stiff but not over-whipped. Fold the cream and melted chocolate thoroughly but gently into the cooled custard, until well combined and smooth. Chill, if made ahead, or set aside while you fry the doughnuts.


Two Days Later…

After two days’ proving, take the dough out of the fridge, knock it back once more and cut it into twenty 50g pieces. (You can freeze the dough portions at this stage, separated in an airtight container for up to 6 months, or chill to cook the next day.) Using oiled hands, roll the pieces into smooth, taut, round buns and place them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, leaving plenty of space between them. Cover with oiled cling film and prove in a warm place for 3–4 hours, until doubled in size. (If proving from frozen, leave them to prove for 6–10 hours.)


Fry ‘Em Up

Once the dough has risen for the second time you are ready to fry your doughnuts! Pour the oil into a large, heavy-based saucepan so that it comes up to just under the halfway point of the pan (or use a deep-fat fryer) and heat it to 170°C and line a tray with kitchen paper. Carefully remove the doughnut dough pieces from the baking tray with a spatula, making sure you don’t deflate them, then drop them into the oil. Fry 4 or 5 at a time (so the oil temperature doesn’t drop) for about 4 minutes on each side until they puff up and bob to the surface, turning them over carefully with a metal spoon until evenly golden all over. These doughnuts benefit from a slower fry than you might expect. Transfer the cooked doughnuts to the lined tray to drain any excess oil and cool a little. Tip some caster sugar onto a plate and, while they are still warm, roll the doughnuts to cover them in sugar.


Fill ‘Em Up

Now you are ready to fill your doughnuts. Fill two piping bags fitted with round nozzles with some of the custard and sour cherry jam respectively. Make an incision into the centre of each doughnut with a sharp knife, being careful not to pierce it all the way through. Insert the piping bag deep into the doughnut and squeeze the bag firmly to ensure a healthy amount of filling goes in. Be generous. I cannot abide a meanly filled doughnut! Finally, try not to eat the whole lot in one go.



If you’ve enjoyed this recipe make sure to check out Gizzi Erskine’s latest book Restore, out 26th November, which is filled with recipes that are good for you and for the planet. You can buy it from your local independent bookshop, bookshop.org, Hive, Waterstones or Amazon.

We’re posting every Friday a new lockdown comfort, you can check out our for the last two weeks here and here. Sign up to our newsletter or follow us on twitter to get updated when a new post is up!

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