Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts & Pumpkin Puree

I have writer’s block. Or perhaps it’s general frustration. Either way, I’m staring at this damn white screen drowning in perturbation. So please excuse my brevity and lack of discursive, circuitous and generally-word-filled stories. For today, I have nothing eloquent, nothing persuasive and surely nothing noting the idiosyncratic nature of blogging mores.


Instead I have doughnuts – deep fried,  filled to the gizzards, drowning in sweet sugary glaze doughnuts.


That’s right. It’s another recipe that goes something like this: Mix and mix and mix and knead. Knead and knead and knead and rise. Wait a bit. Wait some more. Knead a bit and knead some more. Flour the counter. Roll it out. “Where the heck are those damn cookie cutters,” you’ll surely pout. Shape, shape shape. Look at those rings! Now what? That’s right. Just hold tight.


And then you fry them. With a plop and a sizzle – and inevitably a a rouge splash of oil to the skin – and another sizzle – this time your skin – the little rings of dough blossom into perfection. So you dip them in glaze, and while no one is looking eat some glaze. Then you fill them with a creamy custard, and while no one is looking you eat some custard. And then they’re done and you’re left with a plate stacked high with glorious doughnuts, and while no one is looking you eat all the doughnuts.


Now onto the hot topic of fall, pumpkin puree.


Pumpkin puree: Making pumpkin puree at home, from-scratch, is a very easy process. In addition to being quite simple, you get completely control over the flavor – not to mention you know exactly what is going into it. So, please tell me why y’all are still using the canned stuff? Well, lucky for you I’ve made a little cheat sheet. If you don’t plan on using the puree in a dessert, or in a heavily spiced application, you can easily skip the last step and store the puree raw. Pumpkin puree should last a week in the fridge, or quite a bit longer frozen.



One small pie (or sweet) pumpkin will usually yield roughly enough puree for one dessert. This recipe is easily scaled though. I often roast a few at a time so I can have a stash of pumpkin puree nearby.


Now onto a delicious doughnut recipe!


Doughnuts: This is a fairly traditional doughnut dough with a large portion of the moist ingredients replaced with pumpkin puree. I used a spiced pumpkin puree mix (recipe below) to add a little kick to the dough. Making doughnuts is just like making any other yeast dough so pay attention to rising times and temperatures. Frying oil temperature and timing is important also. Don’t be scared though. Making doughnuts is not as hard as it looks.



Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts
Recipe by:
  • 6 ounces whole milk
  • 1½ teaspoon active yeast
  • 1 ounce maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 12-13 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces spiced pumpkin puree mix (see the cheat sheet above)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 quarts vegetable oil
  • 2 cups Maple Cream Filling (recipe below)
  • 10 ounces vanilla lemon glaze (recipe below)
  1. Heat the milk to the scalding point (about 200°F). Set aside to cool to 110°F. Oil or butter the proofing tub or large bowl and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk (105-115°F). Add the maple syrup, egg, flour and pumpkin puree. Mix the dough until thoroughly combined and a dough just begins to form. Let rest in the bowl, covered, for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the salt to the dough and knead for 7 to 10 minutes until elastic and slightly sticky. If the dough is excessively wet or sticky, add up to 1 ounce more flour. The dough should be slightly sticky to the the touch but still workable.
  4. To test if a dough has been kneaded enough, stretch out a portion of it. It should stretch and leave a translucent pane in the middle. It shouldn't break quickly or easily.
  5. Butter the proofing tub or bowl and place the dough in, letting it rise in a warm place until doubled in volume about 1-2 hours.
  6. If your house is an ice box, preheat the oven at 400°F for 1 minutes - no longer. Turn the oven off after a minute - the inside of the oven should now feel just barely warm. Allow the dough to rise in the warm oven.
  7. Once doubled in volume, punch down the dough and knead it with your hands for a few seconds. Let the dough rest covered for 20 minutes.
  8. After resting, roll the dough out until it is about ¼" thick. Using a 2" round cookie cutter, cut out 12 dough disks.
  9. For standard doughnuts, use a ½" round cookie cutter to cut out the center.
  10. Let them rise until the volume expands 1.5x, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  11. In the meantime put the oil in a heavy bottomed pot and heat to 350°F.
  12. Fry the doughnuts in the hot oil for 2 to 3 minutes on each side until lightly golden brown. Remove the doughnuts to newspaper or paper towels to absorb the oil. Repeat until all of the doughnuts are fried.
  13. Let the doughnuts cool until comfortable to handle.
  14. Place the maple custard filling in a piping bag fitted with a long, narrow tip. Insert the tip half way into the side of the donut and lightly squeeze, pulling the tip out slowly. Take care not to overfill the doughnut. If you are making standard ring dougnuts, skip this step and go straight to glazing the doughnuts.
  15. Dip the doughnuts in warm glaze and remove to a cooling wrap to drip dry.


Pastry Cream:  Pastry cream is a marvelous custard-like treat that takes flavors wonderful, can be thickened or thinned to make nearly anything, and it is easy to make. Since cornstarch is used, there is little risk of messing this mixture up – it can be cooked straight on the stovetop with no fear of scrambling the eggs. Be sure to stir constantly to keep the bottom from scorching and the cream from lumping.

Maple Pastry Cream
Recipe by:
  • 1 pint milk
  • ½ vanilla bean
  • , split in ½ lengthwise
  • 4 ounces sugar
  • 1 ounce cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ounce butter
  • 2 ounces maple syrup
  1. Pour the milk into the heavy bottomed pot. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the milk and add the pod. Bring to  the scalding point.
  2. In the meantime mix the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and blend in well.
  3. Once the milk is scalded, temper the egg mixture. Add everything back to the pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  4. Once thick and at a boil, cook for a few seconds more, stirring constantly.
  5. Remove from the heat. Add the butter and maple syrup. Stir in until the butter is completely melted and the syrup mixed in completely.
  6. Let cool before using.



AUTHOR - Russell van Kraayenburg

Food nerd. Cookbook author. Founder of Chasing Delicious. Pastry cook at Fluff Bake Bar. Lover of hot dogs.


  • Stephanie

    Why haven’t I made doughnuts at home before?? These look amazing. I love recipes that are mix mix knead and rise. Just a little bit scared of the frying step.

    Happy pumpkin season!

  • jamie @ green beans & grapefruit

    These look sensational. The Canadian in me LOVES maple donuts and I usually gravitate towards any pumpkin baked good this time of year. I’ll have to try these!

  • Rachel Cooks

    Gorgeous photos! These look delicious.

  • Cassie

    Gorgeous as always, Russell! I just made homemade puree a couple of weekends ago and it’s so much better than canned. Your graphic is perfect too!

  • Abby@ Totes Delish

    How lovely! I don’t like filled donuts, but I have a feeling I would gobble these up!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks

    Gorgeous donuts! I can almost taste them from here and nice straightforward chart about pumpkin puree-making!

  • Heidi @foodiecrush

    You may feel like you don’t have anything to say but you definitely took me back down the road to my 10th grade AP English class with your flowery descriptives. Love the doughnuts!

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar

    You rock my world one recipe at a time! What an awesome donut treat!

  • Kathryn

    There’s a lovely autumnal light in these pictures & I love the combination of pumpkin & maple.

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci)

    I’ve been craving doughnuts for the longest time. These look like just the thing to meet my craving! Your maple cream filling sounds divine!

  • Karen

    I can’t think of a better way to use pumpkin than these doughnuts. And maple cream filling – Fall heaven! Thanks!

  • thelittleloaf

    Maple custard filling sounds like something I need in my life right now :-)

  • thyme (Sarah)

    Donut heaven!!!

  • Kristen

    I love the look and feel of these photos… and of course love the doughnuts!

  • Caramel et Fleur de Sel

    If I could only have one …. looks delicious!

  • jessica @ how sweet

    think i just died.
    these look amazing.

  • kita

    If you hadn’t said anything we would have never know. (I’ve had some serious writers block lately too).
    Meanwhile, I’m just going to drool on my computer screen – 2 for 2 ;)

  • Jeanette

    Can I stop by and grab one of these doughnuts? These look so good! I haven’t made pumpkin puree in a while, but thanks for reminding me how easy it really is.

  • Alison @ Ingredients, Inc.

    oh i want some so badly! YUM

  • shelly (cookies and cups)

    You said innards and gizzards in the same post…I think we are meant to be BFF.
    Plus, anyone who can make donuts like this needs to be in my life.

  • Stephanie

    Pumpkin puree is something I plan on making once I have a blender or a food processor! For now, I have to stick with the canned stuff..

  • Chelsea {Whatcha Makin' Now?}

    That maple filling sounds so good! And I love the info-graphic for the pumpkin puree.

  • Viviane Bauquet Farre

    Absolutely scrumptious! Nothing beats homemade pumpkin puree – so fresh and delicious it’s hard not to eat it all off the spoon! Marvelous recipe here, Russell!

  • Riley

    I don’t know why I never thought to make homemade pumpkin purée before, but I will be doing it now! Those muffins look heavenly, Russell!

  • Emily @ Life on Food

    This is the plan for Sunday morning. And I love your little how-to. Every year I make homemade puree once. Its tradition.

  • Sommer@ASpicyPerspective

    Holy Doughnut! I’ve got to have one of these babies, and FAST!

  • Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    Oh my, this is the best of fall all rolled into one delicious looking doughnut!

  • Liz W | EmmaEats

    What a fantastic way to take advantage of the current pumpkin bounty! These look spectacular and I’d really like one now. Have any leftovers that you can share? :)

  • Carolyn

    Hey dude, if writer’s block produces lovely donuts like this, block away! Nummy.

  • Meeta

    I do want to move in with you Russel. I think my life would be something like this:

    Get up; cocktails and donuts for breakfast
    Photo walk and lens talk with cocktails on the go
    Lunch: cake and cocktails
    Afternoon snack cocktails and cookies
    Dinner cocktails and chocolate.


  • Jen @ Jen's Favorite Cookies

    I use the canned stuff because I’m LAZY. I admit it. These doughnuts sound amazing. My family would be thrilled if I made them!

  • dassana

    beautiful pics. i love donuts and pumpkin donuts would be sure delicious.

  • Ashley Bee

    Do you think these would work in a mini donut maker? The ones with holes, that is. I keep failing at pumpkin donuts in that thing :\

    • Russell

      Are mini doughnut makers like a baking apparatus? I think to use that you’d need a cake-dougnut dough. I may be wrong though. I’ve never tried before. I’m sorry I can’t be more help here!

  • Lisa | With Style and Grace

    I’m borderline obsessed with your diagrams/posters.

  • Fork and Whisk

    I love this time of year. I keep reading about spiced cider donuts and pumpkin donuts. They all sound so good.

  • Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic

    I would have a hard time not eating the maple cream filling by itself!

  • Amy at Gastronome Tart

    I just literally made a huge batch of pumpkin puree and have been scouring the net for a pumpkin spice doughnut recipe! Glad to see this post and can’t wait to try them!

  • Joanne

    Wow, these look fabulous. The tutorial for how to make our own pumpkin puree is so helpful, too!

  • Aqiyl Aniys

    I would really like to bite into these pumpkin doughnuts right now. They look awesome.

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