Pastry cream doughnuts

These Carnival doughnuts (inspired by a recipe from Alessandra Spisni, a teacher from Bologna to ‘La Prova del Cuoco’) are delicious fried, leavened sweet snacks, usually prepared during Carnival. The doughnuts have a soft, puffy texture, can be of various sizes, and are often filled with the classic apricot or cherry jam. But if you are somebody who has a really sweet tooth, you shouldn’t miss making a doughnut filling with a pastry cream or Nutella! You can have your Carnival doughnuts for a substantial, filling breakfast or simply eat them as lovely mid-morning snack. Now follow our recipe step-by-step and remember to add a sprinkling of sugar when the cakes are hot, because the sugar will better stick to the sides of the doughnut when they’re warm. Your guests will be delighted with your Carnival doughnuts!



  • Italian 00 flour 500 grams
  • brewer's yeast 50 grams
  • milk 200 millilitres
  • sugar 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • vanillin 1 sachet
  • butter 80 grams
  • egg yolks 5 egg yolks
  • oil Oil for frying


  • milk 500 millilitres
  • lemon zest
  • egg yolks 4 units
  • sugar 100 grams
  • potato starch 80 grams


  • icing sugar Icing sugar to taste
4 minutes Total time
5 minutes Active time
Serves 10 persons
Social share
Would you like to share this recipe with your friends? Have you tried it? Write us!
Pin it!


Arrange 450g of flour in a well shape and add the egg yolks, vanilla, sugar, melted butter and the yeast dissolved in warm milk. Knead with your hands for at least 10 minutes, until you have a smooth, deep yellow dough. Leave it to rise for at least two hours in a floured bowl covered with a cloth. After this time, transfer the dough to a work surface, knead it again to get it completely deflated, and shape it into a long loaf with a diameter of about 4 or 5 cm. Cut out 20 equal pieces with a spatula, form them into a ball and leave them to rise for another hour on a floured cloth. After the second rising, fry the doughnuts in hot oil until golden on both sides. Drain on paper towels, let them cool and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Pay attention to the temperature of your cooking oil: if it’s too hot it will burn your doughnuts leaving them raw inside.
Did you know that pastry cream is used not only as a filling but also as the basis for creating other types of creamy confections? For example, Chantilly cream or a chocolate flavoured fillings.

Step by step

**Click on the photos to access full step by step!