Pâte à choux is so versatile. Did you know that this batter can be used to make French crullers? These lighter-than-air doughnuts are so much fun to make and, of course, they are dipped in a tasty honey glaze.
a deep-fry thermometer; a pastry bag with a large star tip
For the crullers: Fill a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot with 3 inches of vegetable oil. Heat over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 340 to 350 degrees F.
To make the roux, combine the butter, granulated sugar, salt, nutmeg and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low then add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until all the water evaporates and the roux forms a tight ball, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the roux to a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix at the second lowest speed until the roux is lukewarm, about 3 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and vanilla bean paste in a medium bowl.
Reduce the mixer speed to the lowest speed. Add the eggs in 2 batches to the roux, scraping the bowl after each addition. Add the orange zest and mix on the second lowest speed until the pâte à choux is smooth and thick, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the pâte à choux to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
Cut parchment paper into twelve 3-inch squares. Lightly grease the parchment squares with nonstick cooking spray then place them, greased-side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Pipe a ring of pâte à choux onto each parchment square.
Working in batches of 4 parchment squares and making sure the oil is between 340 to 350 degrees F for each batch, place the piped pâte à choux into the hot oil with the parchment paper facing up. The parchment squares will immediately release from the pâte à choux. Once they do, remove the parchment squares from the oil with tongs and discard.
Fry the crullers until golden brown all around, about 4 minutes on one side, then flip and fry the second side about 3 minutes.
Remove the crullers to a glazing rack set in the rimmed baking sheet and allow to drain and cool completely.
For the glaze: Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, honey and milk in a small bowl until smooth.
Dip one side of each cooled cruller into the glaze then return it, glazed-side up, to the glazing rack. Allow the glaze to set. Serve the crullers the same day.