Meyer Lemon Doughnuts

Meyer Lemon Doughnuts

I know that I’ve professed my love for Whole Foods here before, but really, once is not enough.

Meyer Lemon Doughnuts

I make an event out of my trips to Whole Foods. Sometimes I get dressed up. I usually wear lipstick. I may or may not have a crush on the produce department but nobody needs to know that. I would be beyond embarrassed if someone found out that I sometimes write about heirloom tomatoes in my diary. Or that I have this reoccurring basil dream. Or that one time when I was trying to decide between red or green kale I…  wait. Oh no. This is so awkward.

Meyer Lemon Doughnuts

I’m talking about Whole Foods today because last week, in the citrus section, I finally found my first bag of Meyer Lemons. I could have cried. It felt like I just saw a sign that said:  “Free room full of Christian Louboutin pumps, Mac lipstick, and gift cards to Neiman Marcus.” I’m pretty sure there was a Hallelujah Chorus present because when I spotted those tangy hybrid oddities, I swear I heard singing from the heavens. Meyer lemons, for those of you who think I’ve gone mad and made up my own citrus fruit, are Japanese hybrids of regular lemons and mandarin oranges. They’re little, smooth, deep yellowy-orange in color, and much sweeter than regular lemons. They have a distinct perfume-y smell, and make things sound fancy and gourmet (!).

According to my taste buds, lemon curd is king of the dessert kingdom. I couldn’t imagine doing anything with my first bag of Meyer lemons but cooking them down into Meyer lemon curd… and then using it to fill the most precious baby doughnuts ever. Mini things, rare lemons, hot oil… it was an all around good time.

Bless you, Meyer Lemons.

Meyer Lemon Doughnuts

Adapted from Gourmet, December 1999 & December 2006

**If you can’t find Meyer lemons, regular lemons would do just fine. I’d increase add a few extra tablespoons of sugar into the lemon curd, just to be safe.

For the lemon curd: 

1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice

2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Small pinch of kosher salt

Place the zest, juice, sugar, salt, and eggs in a metal bowl. Whisk away. Add in the butter, clamp on an instant-read thermometer, and set the bowl over a tiny pot of simmering water. Don’t ever stop whisking gently or you’ll end up with a layer of scrambled eggs on the edge of your bowl. Keep cooking and stirring until it’s thick, and the thermometer reads 160°F, 5-10 minutes. Place a fine-mesh sieve over another metal bowl and press the curd through it with a rubber spatula. Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap, cool completely, and refrigerate until ready to use.

For the doughnuts:

1 (1/4-oz) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons warm water (105–115°F)
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour plus additional for sprinkling and rolling out dough
1 cup whole milk at room temperature
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
3 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar + 3/4 cup to roll the finished doughnuts in
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
About 10 cups vegetable oil for deep frying

Stir together yeast and warm water in a small bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn’t foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Mix together flour, milk, butter, yolks, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and yeast mixture in mixer at low speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat 3 minutes more.

Scrape dough into a ball in the center of the bowl, then sprinkle lightly with flour to keep a crust from forming. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel (not terry cloth) and let dough rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until doubled in bulk, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (Alternatively, let dough rise in bowl in refrigerator 8 to 12 hours.)

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin to 1/2 inch thick. Cut out as many rounds as possible with a small round cookie cutter (mine was about 2 inches in diameter). Transfer doughnuts to a lightly floured large baking sheet. Cover doughnuts with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a draft-free place at warm room temperature until slightly puffed, about 30 minutes (45 minutes if dough was cold when cutting out doughnuts). Do not reroll scraps (if you feel bad wasting them, don’t hesitate to fry the extra scraps and then roll them in cinnamon-sugar…)

Heat 2 1/2 inches oil in a deep 4-quart heavy pot until it registers 350°F on thermometer. Fry doughnuts, 3-4 at a time, turning occasionally with a wire or mesh skimmer or a slotted spoon, until puffed and golden brown, about 1-2 minutes per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain. (Return oil to 350°F between batches.) Let cool.

Once the doughnuts are completely cool, get creative to fill them with the lemon curd. I used plastic squeeze bottles with long tips, but a long-tipped pastry bag, mini baster, or flavor injector (food syringe type situation) could work just as well. Alternatively, you could poke a large hole in each doughnut with a skewer and use a small funnel or spoon and steady hand to fill the doughnuts. There are about a million ways to go about this, so use your imagination! When the doughnuts are filled, roll them liberally in granulated sugar (powdered sugar could be delicious, too) and enjoy.

Life’s short. Fry things. 



Filed under Lemon

47 responses to “Meyer Lemon Doughnuts

  1. hmmm.. is it just me or is that lemon oozing out! (indeed you’ve been missing out on coffee! ) 🙂 but its never too late to start, yes?!

  2. I really hope using the regular lemon variety won’t make any change on the donuts’ taste. I dunno where to get the Meyer kind.

  3. How much sugar is in the Lemon Curd? I need to know so I can make this immediately.

  4. I love Whole Foods too! I live in Toronto, where there is like one WF, so I don’t go very often, but every time I do, I feel like I’ve walked into a candy store. These donuts look delicious! And your pictures are really stunning. What’s the difference between Meyer lemons and regular lemons?

  5. Kelly

    Imagine to my surprise, finding one of my past students here online with a successful blog & with a posting for some of my favorite things!!! Jordana, you were an amazing first grader & I am so proud of you! Keep the yummy posts coming! 🙂 KCW (formerly Mrs. Coffey)

    • Oh my goodness Mrs. Coffey!! Your comment made my week. Thank you for giving me the best start any 6 year old could have asked for! We must catch up sometime… I am so happy to hear from you!

  6. Benjamin G.B.

    I just made this recipe and they turned out amazing. They’re seriously the best doughnuts I’ve ever had. And they’re so cute! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • Meredith

      Me, too! They’re completely delicious, and so much easier than I (somehow) expected. I can’t wait to use this dough for so many other kinds of donuts (custard-filled long johns, to begin with.)

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  8. I am sooooo making these. Perfect vessel for oh so perfect meyer lemons.

  9. I look forward to trying these. If you can’t find Meyer Lemons (or even if you can), grow your own. They spend the winter indoors at my house and then go out for the summer.

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  12. Iowa Girl Eats sent me here. I have pinned these doughnuts onto my “Edibles” Pinterest boards. Maybe I will master the art of yeast & water so I can enjoy what sounds like heavenly lemon curd.

    PS- “Life’s short. Fry things.” is going down in my quote book that I keep.

    Heather @ Find That Warm Fuzzy Feeling

  13. Cakebaker

    I notice that you say not to re-roll the dough scraps… can they be used for something?

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  16. Looks so delicious!!! Sweet and tart! It must be a perfect combo. I can’t wait to try! Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

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  19. Katherines Corner

    I’m sharing these at Katherines Corner on Monday xo

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  21. Amazing! Def will be trying out in the future

  22. Elizabeth

    Oh dear God… this looks heavenly. I’m a lemon curd fanatic and will definitely make this recipe! Thank you for sharing!

  23. I have never been able to find Meyer lemons and have been hoarding so many recipes that call for them. I don’t believe I have a Whole Foods where I live, but we do have Fresh Market, so I must look there.

    Love your post and thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • BoiseNoise

      I have found Meyer lemons at regular grocery stores (such as Albertson’s). I think the trick is to catch them during the short time that they are in season. Apparently that time is now, since for the last week or so I’ve been seeing them other places around town besides Whole Foods.

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  25. These look awesome! I can’t wait to make my own donuts. I also love meyer lemons, but I think I’d rather the free Louboutins, lipstick, and NM gift cards 😉

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  27. hello. I want to make a rolled yeast dough cake with lemon filling. will the filling survive the baking in the oven?

  28. Meredith

    These are amazing, and so much easier than I ever guessed yeasted donuts would be. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

  29. I love finding this recipe as I have a very large meyer lemon tree in my yard full of ripe fruit!!! 🙂

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  31. Sometimes I can find Meyer lemons at Walmart. Not always with the lemons. I really love lemon curd and try to keep it in my frig. all the time. Thanks for the recipes.

  32. Allyson Harvey

    Hi there! Approx how many doughnuts will this recipe make?


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  34. I have a Meyer lemon tree in my orchard. The blossoms are intoxicating! The fruit is just now starting to turn. The should be ready to pick in April.

  35. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I’ve planted my lemon meyer tree 3 years ago and this is the first year when it is covered with fruits! so I am looking for ideas what to make with them. Lemon curd and doughnuts sounds wonderful!

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