When I was living in Paris one-too-many moons ago, I frequented this small pâtisserie near the Sorbonne after seemingly every class. Was I after their famed macarons? Their perfectly deep and rich pain aux raisins? Their simply damn good baguettes? No.
Their jelly donuts.
Hear me out! That excursion was, of course, the after-lunch-dessert dessert, as I could never say no to the croissant d’amandes when I picked up a skinny baguette sandwich on the way into class. And this jelly donut was unlike anything you’ve ever had in your life. I even dragged O there when we visited Paris on our honeymoon, but alas… they are no longer. So what’s the fuss?
Instead of being artificially doughy and almost too airy, these jelly donuts were dense–but not too dense–with a perfectly balanced sweetness, beautifully and skillfully fried just a bit longer than we do in the States for a glorious golden brown crust, actual honest-to-God sugar-and-raspberries jam slathered across the middle like a donut sandwich, rolled in coarse white sugar. My sweet Jesus, I might just collapse at the thought of them!
So have I somehow managed to recreate that glory at home to share with you? Eh…..
Not quite. But I might have something even better.
The vegan cronut.
A bit more seemingly French than my actually French donut, this vegan cronut is the glorious blend of flaky croissant layers and yeasty deep-fried donuts, rolled in that coarse white sugar and injected with good quality raspberry jam. Just in case you’ve been living under a, uh, culinary rock for the last couple years, a cronut is indeed a mix between a croissant and a donut, originally made by a bakery in New York who enjoyed (and still enjoys, as far as I know) lines of dozens upon dozens of people waiting everyday for a fresh cronut. A fresh cronut absolutely brimming with butter and God-knows-what else. So naturally, I had to veganize it.
You might have seen a previous cronut recipe I posted–a blackberry cream cheese cronut with lemon glaze that I developed for Tofutti–but I think you’ll love this homage to the classic diner jelly donut just as much. The tart raspberry jam livens up the oh-so-rich buttery layers beautifully and the sugar in which it’s rolled adds a perfect texture to the pillowy soft dough. And.. it might just be better than my famed French jelly donut. Might just be.
You can totally use butter in place of Earth Balance here, but eh, that’s what makes them vegan? There are a few more precautions to take with your cronuts if you’re making them vegan, since the vegan butter melts extremely quickly compared to dairy butter, but all in all, with those small changes made, you wouldn’t know the difference!
Vegan Raspberry-Filled Cronut
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons softened vegan butter
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup alt-milk (like almond or soy; coconut might impart a “coconutty” taste here)
- 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
- 1 cup vegan butter , soft enough to work with (room temperature yields the “butter” too soft here; give vegan butter from a tub a few minutes on the counter before working with it, while the sticks need about 20 minutes on the counter)
- 1 tbsp oil , for frying
- 1/2 cup Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
- 2 tablespoons blackberry jam
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup juice of lemon
- 1/4 tbsp zest of lemon
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat milk and water for a few seconds in the microwave until lukewarm. Whisk in the yeast and let stand about 5 minutes, or until the mixture begins to bubble.
- To a stand mixer bowl add the flour, sugar, salt, 1 1/2 tablespoons softened vegan butter, and yeast mixture, and mix with paddle attachment until just combined, about 30 seconds to a minute. Scrape down sides of the bowl (if necessary) and mix again for another minute. Form a ball from the dough and place in a greased bowl. Cover with a damp, clean towel or with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to an hour. Punch down the dough, wrap, and chill for an hour.
- Meanwhile, place the cup of vegan butter between two pieces of wax or parchment paper. With a rolling pin, flatten and shape into an 8-by-8-inch square. If the vegan butter becomes quite soft, place in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes to make it easier to work with.
- Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface into a 12-by-12-inch square. Place the butter square on the top of the dough square so the corners of the butter square point to the sides of the dough square ￼
- <br>Fold the corners of the dough over the butter block to meet in the center and pinch edges of dough together so the seams are sealed and the butter block is completely enclosed and sealed into the dough.
- If dough is very soft and vegan butter is very mushy, place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer for about 15 - 20 minutes. Roll out the dough into a 20-by-8-inch rectangle. Brush off excess flour and fold dough into thirds, like a letter.
- <br>Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 45 minutes, then move to the freezer for 15 minutes. Repeat the folder, chilling, and freezer process 2 more times.
- ￼After the dough’s final fold, chilling, and freezing, roll out onto a lightly floured surface into a 6-by-18-inch rectangle. Use a dough cutter or pizza cutter to cut the dough into three 6-by-6-inch squares and stack the squares on top of each other. If the vegan butter is feeling mushy at this point already, give it a quick freeze and come back! Roll out the stacked squares into a 6-by-8-inch rectangle. Trust me—all of this folding, rolling, stacking, chilling, rolling, stacking, folding creates those deliciously flaky layers!
- Finally, cut 12 donut shapes out of the dough using donut ring cutters or a 3”-diameter circle mold or cookie cutter and 1”-diameter mold for the 'flaky donut' “hole”. Place on a parchment- or wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Cover the donuts loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place about 30 minutes. Transfer to the freezer and chill for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat oil in a large pot or very large cast iron skillet, at least 2” deep, to 350ºF. Make your filling: in a blender, food processor, or by hand, mix together cream cheese and blackberry jam until very smooth. Place mixture in a piping bag with a long, thin tip attached, or in an injector. Make your glaze: with a fork, mix together all ingredients—powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
- Once your dough has risen and your oil is heated to 350º, begin to fry donuts, in batches. Don’t crowd! Place on a paper-towel-lined plate to cool.
- Insert long, thin piping tip or injector into the side of your 'flaky donut' and fill a little; repeat this process three more times at regular intervals until 'flaky donut' is “filled”. Repeat with remaining 'flaky donuts'. Finally, glaze your 'flaky donuts': either drizzle glaze with a fork over filled 'flaky donuts' or dip tops-down in a bowl of glaze then let dry on a cooling rack. Devour!
Cheryl Malik is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind the healthy, flavorful, family friendly recipes at 40 Aprons. She’s been a blogger for 10+ years and is known for her delicious recipes and detailed recipe instructions. Cheryl is a mom of three who lives in Memphis, TN.