Makes 10 pastries, plus doughnut holes
¼ cup milk
¼ cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast (bread machine or rapid-rise yeast)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, diced and chilled
1/3 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 cup powdered sugar
Pastry cream filling:
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1¼ cups half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Croissant dough: Combine milk and ¼ cup water in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, instant yeast, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and salt. With a pastry blender, cut in the chilled butter until it is in bits no smaller than the size of a pea. This is the important stage. You are not making a bread or a pastry so don’t overwork the mixture; you need to see individual pieces of butter.
Add the liquid ingredients and gently fold into the dry ingredients, trying to moisten everything without making the butter any smaller. Once the ingredients are roughly combined, turn the mixture out onto a work surface and lightly knead together to form a ball of dough. Return the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a well-floured work surface. Roll out the dough into a roughly 8-by-16-inch rectangle. (It will look quite shaggy.) Fold in thirds, like a business letter, brushing off excess flour. This is the first turn. Give the dough a quarter-turn and repeat the rolling and folding process 2 more times, giving the dough a total of 3 turns. (It will get increasingly smoother.) Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Lemon sugar: In a small bowl, rub the 1/3 cup granulated sugar and lemon zest together for a few minutes with your fingers. Set aside.
Glaze: Stir in lemon juice, a teaspoon at a time, to the powdered sugar to make a thin glaze.
Pastry cream: In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, flour and granulated sugar (¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon).
In a medium saucepan, bring half-and-half just to a boil over medium heat. Whisking constantly, slowly pour the half-and-half over the egg mixture, then pour this back into the saucepan and cook until thickened, continuing to whisk. Whisk in the vanilla. Pour the thickened custard into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
To make the pastries: Place the chilled dough on a floured surface and roll to about 1/3 inch thick — much thicker than if making a croissant. Using your doughnut cutter as a guide, the rectangle should enable you to cut 2 columns of 5 doughnuts. (If you don’t have a doughnut cutter, use a cookie-cutter, then cut the hole with a frosting tip). Cut additional doughnut holes from the scraps. Place the doughnuts on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and allow to rest until they puff a bit, about 20 minutes.
In the meantime, pour enough canola or vegetable oil into a thick-bottomed saucepan to make it two-thirds full. Heat over medium heat to 340 degrees.
Begin frying the doughnuts two or three at a time, a couple of minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove with a metal slotted spoon to a wire rack placed on a baking sheet. Gently roll in the lemon sugar, then set aside to cool completely. Continue until all doughnuts are fried and sugared.
Place the pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a bismarck tip (long and needlelike). Press the tip into each quarter of the pastries and pipe in a small amount of the custard until it backs up in the hole. (You will be doing 4 squirts of pastry cream in each doughnut.) Just before serving, drizzle with lemon glaze. If desired, garnish with fresh lemon zest.