These Easy Crème Brûlée Donut Rolls are made using King's Hawaiian Original Hawaiian Sweet Rolls instead of donuts, filled with a delicious silky smooth crème patisserie (custard) and topped off with a crunchy thin layer of caramel. The result is absolutely mind-blowing: incredible flavor and texture just like gourmet donuts without any of the extra effort needed!
THE STORY BEHIND THIS RECIPE
I am a big fan of crème brûlée myself, and know you guys are too. My Crème Brûlée Donuts are one of my most popular recipes on the blog, and I recently made a delicious classic Vanilla Crème Brûlée too. Similarly, I love making easy dessert recipes using King's Hawaiian rolls, like this Vanilla Bread Pudding or my easy Shahi Tukray. So I wanted to put the two together, and out came these crème brûlée donut rolls!
To be very honest with you guys, I was skeptical if this recipe would work. I thought they would taste more like bread rolls than donuts, but somehow, with the filling and the crunch, they tasted just like crème brûlée donuts! And I am a big fan of the smaller size - sometimes people struggle to finish one large donut in one sitting, and they go dry if left unfinished.
I could not stop eating them, so after gulping down more than I care to admit, I sent some with my husband to his soccer match, and apparently his teammates went crazy for these. I have asked him to record the reactions next time!
HOW TO MAKE EASY CREME BRULEE DONUT ROLLS
First, check out this short video in which I demonstrate the recipe:
Now, let's go over the steps quickly (don't worry, all details are provided in the recipe card at the bottom of this post as always):
- Make the crème patisserie, or a custard. Boiling milk and cream are mixed with a mixture of egg yolks and sugar to temper the eggs, then the whole mixture is cooked on low heat until it reaches a custard like consistency. Then butter is mixed in. The key to get the creme patisserie right is to cook low and slow, and keep stirring, so the mixture does not overcook or curdle. Cover and refrigerate until chilled
- Prepare the "donuts". This is really easy!! Separate the Hawaiian rolls, dip each in melted butter, and bake until golden. While they're still hot, coat the rolls in granulated sugar, and the result is eerily similar to actual donuts
- Fill the donuts. Transfer the crème patisserie to a piping bag with a bismarck tip (this is the one I use), and generously fill each roll with it. You will know the rolls are filled when they feel swollen (or some of the custard starts to ooze out)
- Make the caramel. For the brulee part, we are going to make a simple wet caramel. For this, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and cook on medium low heat until the sugar melts and dissolves, and the mixture reaches a deep golden color. The caramel will go through a phase where it seems crystallized, but don't worry, just keep cooking it until the sugar melts!
- Coat the donuts. Now, this step requires care as you can easily burn your fingers (I did, oops). But while the caramel is still hot, carefully dip the top of each donut roll into the caramel to get a thin coating. As the caramel cools, it will solidify into a crispy crust
And that's it! Now you can enjoy the most divine crème brûlée donut rolls. Yum.
This is just the beginning! Now that you have learned this incredible hack to make donuts using rolls, you can make many different variations. Here are a few ideas:
- Cinnamon sugar donut rolls by coating the rolls in cinnamon sugar
- Nutella donut rolls by filling with Nutella instead of the creme pat
- Boston creme donut rolls if you replace the caramel coating with a ganache coating instead
- Fill with jam instead of creme pat
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This is not a good recipe to make in advance, because the thin caramel layer loses its crunch and becomes more chewy with time. If you need to, you can fill the donut rolls with the crème patisserie and refrigerate them for up to 1 day, then coat in caramel when you're ready to serve.
Due to the custard inside, these donut rolls need to be refrigerated in an airtight container. However, please note that they are best eaten within a few hours, as the caramel starts to become chewy.
You can substitute Hawaiian rolls with any small sized brioche rolls you have easy access to. I cannot guarantee how good the results will be, though.
This means you have overcooked the eggs, causing them to scramble. Make sure to use low heat and keep stirring. If some lumps form, you can try to strain them out with a fine sieve mesh.
In my experience, when people think caramel has crystallized, they actually just need to cook it a bit more! This happens when the water has evaporated but the sugar has not yet melted. Increase the heat a bit and gently stir the sugar, encouraging it to melt.
As you coat the donut rolls, the caramel will start to cool down and become thicker, making this harder and more sticky. Don't worry, return to the stove for just a few seconds until the caramel becomes warm and runny again.
You need to make sure the caramel is hot, and get a very thin coat on the rolls, wiping off the excess.
MORE EASY DESSERT RECIPES
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