By Dennis Prescott
Updated January 13, 2015
Credit: © Dennis Prescott

The Lemon Meringue Pie. The King of Pies. I mean, the meringue even looks like a crown! Amazingly delicious, and forever a classic. This is my take on one of my favorite desserts…in doughnut form.

Lemon Meringue Doughnuts

Makes 14 - 16

For the dough:

  • 3 tsps yeast
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter at room temperature (cut into 10 pieces)

For the lemon pastry cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Zest of 2 lemons

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup + 3 Tbsp superfine sugar

Powdered sugar for dusting


In a small bowl, combine yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar and water. Stir and allow the yeast to activate (about 10 minutes).

Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, vanilla, and 5 eggs. Beat on low for about 5 minutes until the dough starts to come together. Make sure all the dough is incorporated, scrapping down the sides of the bowl, if necessary. Continue to beat on low for an additional 5 minutes.

Add butter, one piece at a time, allowing each piece to fully incorporate before adding the next. Increase speed to medium and knead the dough for 15 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

At this point make your pastry cream, as it also needs to sleep in the fridge overnight.

For the lemon pastry cream:

In a small saucepan heat your milk over medium. Remove from heat before it begins to simmer.

While the milk is warming, in a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, and salt, and whisk well until smooth. Continue to whisk while adding a teaspoon of warm milk. Repeat this three more times to temper the yolks and prevent cooking. Slowly add remaining milk.

Add the mixture to sauce pan over medium heat. Whisk until the pastry cream starts to boil and thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, and run through a sieve set over a medium bowl to remove any lumps. Fold in lemon zest and vanilla. Cover with cling film (pressing it down directly on the pastry cream) and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove dough from fridge and allow to warm for a few minutes on a floured surface. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and dust lightly with flour. Roll the dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle. Using a 3 1/2-inch cutter (or a drinking glass, if in a pinch) cut out doughnuts. Place doughnuts on lined baking tray leaving a couple inches between each doughnut. Cover with cling wrap, and allow to proof for 2 hours until doubled in size.

Using a thermometer, heat 2 inches of canola oil to 350° in a dutch oven (or deep fryer). Working in batches, carefully drop in 2 or 3 doughnuts at a time. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper to remove excess grease. Allow the doughnuts to cool completely before filling.

For the meringue:

In a the bowl of a stand mixer, combine egg whites and cream of tartar. Whisk on medium speed until stiff peaks have formed (6 - 7 minutes). Slowly add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time to the whites. When all sugar has been added, turn the mixer to high and whisk for 7 or 8 minutes, until the meringue is thick and glossy.

To assemble:

Fill a piping bag with pastry cream, and fill each doughnut with 1 tablespoon of cream. Set aside, with the pastry cream facing the ceiling,and allow to set for 2 minutes.

Fill another piping bag with meringue, and pipe 1/2 a cup on top of each doughnut. Using a small torch, carefully flame around each meringue. Dust with icing sugar.