Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

A luxurious pumpkin brioche is converted into soft and pillowy brioche donuts with a silky molten chocolate truffle center, then dusted in a sweet pumpkin pie spice sugar.

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dep• ri•va•tion (deprəˈvāSH(ə)n) – the lack or denial of something considered to be a necessity.

But what really is a true necessity?

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center
Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Centers
Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center
Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

Is it Air?

After having spent some time in Shanghai, I was constantly horrified by the cloud of pollution that perpetually cloaked the city.  Just looking at the seemingly impenetrable haze provoked hesitation before each breath for fear that the toxins would be inhaled into my body and start waging a war on every molecule of my being.  But, the good news is that I am still here. . .well at least for the moment.

So, is this proof that clean, untainted air is not a necessity but rather the most precious of luxury items?  Perhaps so precious that it will always remain just out of reach for even the wealthiest of humans.

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

And Water?

So, so easy to have any time your little heart desires, right?  A quick flick of the wrist and that gleaming nozzle releases a fury of  life sustaining liquid.  But have you considered just how lucky you are to have something so valuable always at your fingertips?

Not all are so fortunate.

After having lived in Africa, I witnessed just how scarce this commodity can be and the efforts required by many to provide a continual supply in order to sustain life.  Day in and day out, women, young & old, make the long, tiresome trek to fetch the very same liquid that is nearly always within inches from most of us in the developed world.  And this is during the good times – when water is more plentiful.  During the drought, the search for water can be an arduous and desperate task.  One that bears the strains of life and death.

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center
Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

Basic Nourishment?  

Surely nothing you find on this site will fit within this category and I would venture to guess that most of your diets consist of food that would be considered anything but basic.

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

I bet when you are thinking about the necessities in your life. . .these basic essentials are not the first things that pop into your mind, are they?

They certainly wouldn’t have been on my list of necessities because, like you, I more often than not take these things for granted.  Sure, water may not have been consistently flowing from my taps in Africa, but I was always lucky enough to have access to tanks or bottles of water safe enough to drink.

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center
Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center
Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle CenterI never found myself in a situation where my basic necessities were not being met;  however, I definitely found myself becoming more conscience of the absence of and the efforts it took to track down the creature comforts I once found myself taking for granted in the U.S.

For example, there were the flights to South Africa every couple of months just to haul back the heavy bags of food that my Bengal kitty so needed to keep his kidneys functioning.  And the unsweetened cocoa powder that is a regular ingredient on this site?  Well, that was always on the top of the Mr.’s shopping list when he flew to Angola for business trips.  And sugar?  There was a sugar shortage when I lived in Kenya – so you could forget about doing baking of any sorts.  Oh. . . and how I yearned to brush my teeth from a gushing tap rather than a bottle of Dasani.

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

While I was often hyper aware of the absence of things that I once regularly enjoyed, I did not find myself completely deprived of indulgences – many of which helped soothe my soul and ease any frustrations associated with assimilating into a foreign land that couldn’t be any more different than the country I grew up in.

Probably one of the greatest enjoyments was the ready access to imported chocolates such as Lindor truffles (P.S.  This is not a sponsored post, but rather a chocolate that helped soothe my woes as I went through the inevitable process of culture shock).  I always had these little beauties stashed away in the pantry so that they could be whipped out at a moments notice when a little chocolate therapy session was so desperately needed.

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

It’s uncommon to have air conditioning in Kenya, especially in Nairobi, so my truffles were perpetually soft, always releasing a gush of silky chocolate the minute my teeth shattered their outer shell.  I absolutely adored this and I used it as the inspiration for these Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Centers.

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

These Pumpkin Brioche Donuts start off with a tender and buttery pumpkin brioche.  It’s such a tasty excuse to use up any leftover pumpkin as we transition out of fall and into winter.  Really, you could stop there and pop the risen dough into a loaf pan & bake it until it reaches a golden perfection.  But why stop there?

I had some leftover Pumpkin Spice Truffles, so I decided to roll the brioche out, cut it into 2 1/2 inch rounds, and then wrap those rounds around the truffles.  The Pumpkin Brioche was then deep fried until it reached a golden hue.  And last but not least, it was rolled around in a pumpkin pie spice sugar for a sweet crunch.

The end result – sweet and pillowy brioche donuts that have a hint of pumpkin spice and a silky soft molten chocolate truffle center that oozes out and bathes the taste buds the minute you bite into them.



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Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

Yield: 35-40

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

A luxurious pumpkin brioche is converted into soft and pillowy donuts with a silky molten chocolate truffle center, then dusted in a sweet pumpkin pie spice sugar.


    For the Pumpkin Pie Sugar:
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • For the Pumpkin Brioche Sponge:
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 packet instant yeast (about 2.5 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • For the Pumpkin Brioche:
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 35-40 Lindor Truffle (I used THESE Pumpkin Spice Truffles)


    For the Pumpkin Pie Sugar:
  1. Place all ingredients in a shallow dish. Stir until well combined.
  2. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
  3. For the Pumpkin Brioche Sponge:
  4. Stir the milk & maple syrup together.
  5. Place in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  6. Sprinkle the yeast on top of the milk & carefully add the flour.
  7. Mix on low until well combined & smooth.
  8. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap & allow the sponge to rise at room temperature until it has doubled in size (1-2 hours).
  9. For the Pumpkin Brioche:
  10. Cut the butter into 1 inch cubes. Set aside.
  11. Add the first four ingredients (brown sugar through eggs) to the brioche sponge & mix on low with the paddle attachment until incorporated.
  12. Switch the paddle attachment out for the hook attachment.
  13. Add the flour & mix on low until the dough comes together (2-3 minutes).
  14. Increase the speed to medium low & continue to work the dough until it becomes smooth (about 5 minutes). Stop the mixer every minute & push the dough down off the hook & back into the bowl.
  15. Reduce the mixer speed to low & slowly add the butter, a little at a time over the course of 3 minutes.
  16. When the butter begins to blend in, increase the speed to medium high & continue to beat until the dough becomes smooth & shiny (about 5 minutes more). Push the dough down off the hook as needed.
  17. Coat a large bowl with canola oil & turn the down around in the bowl to lightly coat the dough.
  18. Place a piece of plastic wrap tightly around the bowl & allow the dough to double in size at room temperature (about 2 hours).
  19. Once the dough has risen, place it on a lightly floured sheet of parchment paper.
  20. Roll the dough out until it is 1/2 inch thick.
  21. Cut out a 2 1/2 inch round using a biscuit or cookie cutter. Alternatively you could use a glass that is roughly 2 1/2 inches and trace it with a knife to cut out the round.
  22. Place a truffle in the center of each round & wrap the dough around it.
  23. Pinch the seams to seal the chocolate in the center.
  24. Place the donuts on a parchment paper lined baking sheet & loosely cover them with a damp paper towel.
  25. Allow the donuts to rise for an hour.
  26. Heat 2 to 3-inches of oil in a heavy, high-sided pot over medium heat until the oil reaches 350 degrees F.
  27. Working in batches of 3, drop the doughnuts into the oil & fry until they float.
  28. Turn the doughnuts over in the oil & continue cooking. Cook the doughnuts, until they are uniformly golden.
  29. Transfer fried donuts to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
  30. While the donut is still warm, roll it in the Pumpkin Pie Spice Sugar (about a 30 seconds-1 minute after placing on paper towel) until it is evenly coated.
  31. Best eaten the day they are made. I prefer mine after then have cooled slightly as the molten center thickens up a bit.
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This recipe was adapted from Gesine Bullock-Prado’s Pumpkin Brioche Buns.

Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center



21 thoughts on “Pumpkin Brioche Donuts with Molten Chocolate Truffle Center

  • December 2, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    These look amazing! I definitely need to give a vegan version a try.

  • December 2, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    These donuts look absolutely stunning! I do love lindt truffles too, and they are also one of my comfort foods. I love how you used them in this recipe.

    • December 4, 2016 at 10:22 am

      You make me blush Valentina. I’m glad you enjoyed the post. As for the donuts, I’m so obsessed with them that I want to make them in every flavor. 😉

  • December 2, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    That was a completely mesmerizing, trip, Lynn. The contrast between your intoxicating images and the story of want versus excess made for exciting blog reading. Of course, as a French-trained baker I am dying to make these donuts! Merci pour tout!

    • December 4, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Thank you Lynne, for the positive feedback. It makes me feel good that I was able to pique your interest. And a french trained baker?! Ohh! La! La! I’m definitely going to need to take a closer look at your delicious work.👌🏻

  • December 2, 2016 at 8:08 pm

    Well, I’m very sad after reading your post. Here in the US, I can say I take SO much for granted. Reality check on my end after reading your post. Thanks for posting this because I think it’s a message we should all really take to heart.

    Ok your photos – WOW! AMAZING! Beautiful!!! And this recipe looks fantastic!! Thank you so much for posting!

    • December 4, 2016 at 10:14 am

      Awww Amanda. My intent was not to make you sad but rather to get you to think more about the small things that we so often take for granted. As for the photos. . .many thanks on the compliments. I am very hard on my work (the curse of most photographers) so hearing positive feedback helps me reassess my feelings and the progress I have made.

    • December 4, 2016 at 10:10 am

      Awww Thanks Natasha. They were incredibly fun to make and so tasty. As a matter of fact, I want to re-make them using Christmas-y flavors. 😉

  • December 5, 2016 at 10:47 am

    I can not agree more Lynn! We have so many things here and often take them for granted. These donuts look gorgeous!

    • December 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm

      So true Mira. I think spending time in other countries is such a great learning experience, helping us to look at things differently.

  • December 5, 2016 at 12:50 pm

    I have been obsessing over these since you first shared a picture on Instagram and finally got to make them last night! SO tasty and beautiful. To my fault, I used active-dry yeast instead of instant and didn’t consider the fact that there wasn’t anything warm to help it activate. It made the dough not rise as much as I would have liked but still tasted outstanding! Thank you for this!

    • December 5, 2016 at 2:49 pm

      Oh Sophia. . .I’m so glad that you tried these tasty beauties and loved them. I loved them so much that I am toying around with making a more wintery version. Thanks for the heads up on the recipe. I went back and added “instant” yeast to help clarify for future bakers.

    • December 6, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      It really is a nice surprise. And since Lindor truffles come in so many different flavors, it is easy to mix it up a bit.

  • December 7, 2016 at 3:34 am

    Such a lovely and thoughtful post, and so true. It’s easy to forget how fortunate we are to have such an abundance of basic necessities that we don’t even notice it!

    these donuts look amazing! That melting middle is just divine!

  • December 9, 2016 at 11:46 pm

    What a lovely post Lynn! You drew me in with the recipe description, but as a lover of writing and literature, your post kept me reading! I love your juxtaposition of “deprivation” and indulgence…

    This sweet treat looks like one that would be worth “spending” my calories on. I don’t indulge very often! The images are all gorgeous, but the oozing chocolate with the pumpkin brioche ball looks irresistible.

  • December 12, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Oh geezzz, Lynn!! These are amazing!! You’re so right, it’s so easy to take all we have for granted!! I can’t imagine breathing in that Shanghai air! Especially because I grew up with asthma. I only know about brushing my teeth with bottled water from traveling so I can kinda know what it feels like but not really! We are so lucky!! I am grateful for all we have! Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories!! xO

  • December 27, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    I have a question about your recipe. I’m brand new to baking so forgive me if it’s common knowledge. You call for brioche sponge dough and brioche dough for your doghnuts, so while wrapping the truffles do you combine the doughs? The instructions didn’t really say what to do with the sponge after it has risen, so I assumed that it was some common practice I’d never heard of. I love your recipes and thank you so much for sharing your stories!

    • December 27, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      Happy holidays Riley. Such an excellent question (which btw has nothing to do with being new at baking 😉).

      The brioche recipe is a continuation of the brioche sponge recipe. So you will start the brioche recipe by mixing the brown sugar, salt, pumpkin puree & eggs into the brioche sponge.

      Many thanks for pointing out that this was not clear. I have updated the recipe accordingly. Please let me know if you run into other issues or find other parts of the recipe unclear. Your feedback is really valuable in helping to optimize the wording for the recipe for other bakers.

      Since you are newbie baker, I wanted to point out a few additional things you might find helpful. . .you want to make sure that your yeast is not expired as this can prevent the brioche from rising. The rising times in the recipe are loose guidelines as the temperature in the environment you are making the brioche can impact how slowly or quickly it rises. I like to let my dough rise in the laundry room with the dryer running as it provides a warmer environment than my kitchen which is open to the living room. But there have been times that my home was chilly so I had to let the yeast rise more than two hours. The main thing is to pay attention to the size of the dough – you want it to double in size after the first rising.

      Also, if you use the Lindor truffles. . .be aware that the chocolate will be very thin, so be careful when you take your first bite. I like to let me doughnuts sit half a day before I eat them because the chocolate firms up a bit (still very molten). But it is my personal preference. You may find you like them soon after making. If you use another type of truffle/chocolate I would be interested in hearing how they turn out. I want to try them with candy bars next time.

      I hope you find that you enjoy making brioche as much as I do. Many thanks for the compliments. Hearing this type of feedback really puts a smile on my face.

      Stay in touch. I would really like to hear how these turned out for you.


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