Every year or two, I become an absolute sucker for punishment by enrolling myself in an intensive two weeks at the Institut de Français in Villefranche, a quaint coastal village just outside Nice. The point? Good question, but the truth is I don’t really speak a lot of French at JAN. And since I live in France, it’s important to keep up the habit. The long and the short of it is, doing a stint at the Institute is hectic! For starters, you get fined for every non-French word you utter while on the premises, especially swear words. Needless to say, my “fine jar” usually bankrolls the whole group’s coffee and snacks for the entire two weeks. So, by the time I get home, I usually feel a little rebellious. To get me through my ‘homework’ while keeping it French (sort of), I recently made myself a batch of crème brûlée doughnuts to go with my coffee. Beware, though, it’s totally possible to eat them all in one sitting, whether you’ll regret it or not.


for the doughnuts

1 x 10 g packet instant yeast

35 g (40 ml) caster sugar

190 ml water

1 egg

5 ml salt

125 ml evaporated milk

30 ml melted butter

490 g (875 ml) cake flour

750 ml sunflower oil, for frying the doughnuts 

for the Nespresso coffee filling

250 ml cream 

250 ml milk

40 ml Nespresso Crème Brûlée (capsule)

80 g (100 ml) sugar

6 egg yolks

20 g (35 ml) cake flour 

for the brûlée

100 g (125 ml) sugar 

20 ml water 


for the doughnuts

Mix the yeast and sugar in a bowl. Add the water and mix well. Let it rest for 10 minutes.

Beat the egg, salt and evaporated milk together.

Add the beaten egg mixture to the yeast mixture, then add the melted butter and mix well.

Add half of the flour and mix.

Add the rest of the flour and mix into a soft dough.

Knead the dough on a floured surface for at least 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.

Rub a little sunflower oil onto the inside of a large mixing bowl and place the dough inside. Cover and keep the bowl in a warm place, leaving the dough until it has doubled in volume.

Place a big sheet of baking paper on your work surface, then roll the dough out onto the baking paper. Using a 4 cm cookie cutter, press circles in the dough. You should get at least 15 doughnuts.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. First, test the oil with a cut-off piece of dough. If it fries too dark at the start, your oil is too hot.

Ease a doughnut into the heated oil with a slotted spoon. Fry the doughnuts (two or three at a time) for 5 minutes or until they are golden brown, turning them once. Drain on a kitchen towel and let them cool.

for the Nespresso coffee filling

Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan.

Brew the Nespresso Crème Brûlée and add it to the cream mixture, then heat the mixture but do not boil.

Beat the sugar, egg yolks and cake flour until smooth. Add the warm cream mixture to the egg mixture and beat. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and heat over a low heat, stirring all the time until thick. Remove from the heat and let it cool.

for the brûlée

Melt the sugar and water in a saucepan. Without stirring, leave it on a medium heat until the sugar caramelises.

Carefully dip the doughnuts in the hot caramel.

Place the coffee custard in a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle. Pierce the side of the doughnuts and fill with custard.

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