Malasadas are the Hawaiian favorite when it comes to fried food- a real island style dessert! Soft and fluffy, yet rich and flavorful, these beautiful golden brown donuts are rolled in granulated sugar and filled with a creamy custard filling. Besides being incredibly delicious, the dough is super easy and comes together all in one bowl.
Malasadas are superstars in Hawaii. On kauai, where I grew up, we would buy them from a food truck outside of K-Mart- we were handed our treats coated in cinnamon sugar in a brown paper bag. On Oahu, Malasadas are most famous at Leonards bakery(the original Malasada bakery), where they are sold with a variety of fillings, like Haupia(coconut cream), Chocolate, Li Hing, and Guava. My favorites are the cinnamon sugar donut balls and the custard filling we’re making today!
While Malasadas are by birthright, Portuguese, they were brought by immigrants to Hawaii in the 1800s, and never left. Cause they are so good!!!! Dude, just wait till you take a first fluffy warm bite.
Malasada- mal-assada, means under-cooked in Portuguese. Don’t worry, these aren’t doughy! We definitely fully cook our Malasadas up in this joint.
First get out a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can make this in a bowl and mix with a spoon too but it’s just more arm work!
For the dough you’ll start with some active dry yeast, a little sugar, and warm water. Once the yeast is super bubbly- and I mean super bubbly, give it about 10 minutes- we’ll add 4 eggs and give that a quick beat. Then add all the rest of the ingredients- a little oil, cream and milk, the rest of the sugar, and some salt.
I like to use mostly cream in this recipe because it really creates the richest and most flavorful dough.
Add 3 1/2 cups of flour and mix. The dough will be pretty wet . Add flour a half cup at a time until the dough turns shaggy but not wet. Don’t add too much flour or it will be dry-remember- you are NOT going for a smooth bread-like dough! The amount of flour you add depends on your location. Personally, I needed the full 5 1/2 cups to achieve a shaggy dough but if you live in a dry climate you may only need 4.
Mix the dough for about 2 minutes and then cover the bowl and let it rest.
At this point I put the dough in the fridge and leave it overnight- an overnight rest or even most of a day in the fridge gives the gluten time to relax(it doesn’t snap back while rolling or frying and puffs up extremely well) and imparts flavor in the dough. If you are reading this and want to make and eat the donuts same-day give them as much time as possible to rise- minimum 2/3 hours, or until the dough has just about doubled in size. If you’re planning for a party I find it wonderful to make the dough the night before and then have little measuring and hands on work on the day of.
In the morning or about 45 minutes before you want to eat, take the dough in the bowl out of the fridge. Flour your work surface well to prevent the donuts from sticking to the counter, and scrape out the dough. Flour the top of the dough as well and roll it out to about a 1/2 inch in thickness. The dough will be very pleasurable to work with and roll out nice and easy. Malasadas do not have holes in the centre like American style donuts, so you can use a round cookie cutter to cut out your shapes- or the rim of a small wineglass!
Place the donuts on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper, cover them, and let them rest for a half hour.
Fry up the Malasadas until golden brown on each side(around a minute and a half)- you can even flip them a second before they turn golden because they will darken in color as they sit. Let them cool on a cooling rack or paper towels for a minute, and while still warm, toss them in granulated sugar.
You can eat them just like this, or pipe them with your favorite fillings! My cream custard recipe is included below.
I hope you love these Hawaiian Malasadas like we do- be sure to leave a review and a comment below if you make them, and always share your photos with us on Instagram! As always, Happy Cooking, and Happy Channukah!
Hawaiian Malasadas with Cream Custard Filling
- stand mixer
- 1 Tbs active/instant dry yeast
- 1/4 cup plus 2tsp sugar plus another cup for rolling
- 2 Tbs warm water(not hot)
- 4 eggs
- 2 Tbs canola oil or other cooking oil
- 1/4 cup milk
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 1/2- 5 1/2 cup sifted white flour
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add yeast, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and 2 Tablepoons of warm water. Mix and let it sit until very frothy, about ten minutes.
- Add the eggs and beat. Add remaining 1/4 cup sugar, oil, milk, cream, salt, and 3 1/2 cups of flour. Beat for a minute, and with the mixer on low, add flour a half cup at a time until the dough turns shaggy but not wet. Don't add too much flour or it will be dry-remember- you are NOT going for a smooth bread-like dough! The amount of flour you add depends on your location. Personally, I needed the full 5 1/2 cups to achieve a shaggy dough but if you live in a dry climate you may only need 4. Mix for another minute. again, the dough should be a bit shaggy.
- Oil your fingers and pull off the dough from the paddle. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a plastic bag. If you have the time, and this is encouraged, put the dough in the fridge overnight- or for most of the day. If you're pressed for time, let it rise for an hour at room temperature and then put it in the fridge for two hours minumum.
Roll out and Cut Shapes
- Once the dough has risen, take it out of the fridge. Generously flour your work surface, and pull out the dough. Dust the top of the dough with flour as well. Roll it out with a rolling pin to 1/2 inch thickness, and cut out circles for the donuts. My perfect size is the rim of a small wine glass. Don't make the donuts too large or they will take longer to fry.
- Place the donuts on two baking sheets lined with baking paper, cover them with a clean kitchen towel, and let rest for 30 minutes.
- Heat up oil in a wide rimmed saucepan or pot till very hot. Gently add the malasadas- 3 or 4 at a time to avoid crowding the oil(which will lower the temperature). Fry until golden, flip, and fry the second side. They will take about 1 minute and a half and you'll see the sides puff up and leave a lighter ring of dough in the centre.
- Place on a wire rack or paper towels to cool slightly. Fill a bowl with a cup of granulated white sugar and while still warm, roll the malasadas so they are coated on all sides in sugar.
- After rolling, if you want to fill with cream or other fillings, make a small hole in the side with a knife, and poke your finger or a chopstick in to widen the inside. Pipe and serve immediately!!
Creme Custard Filling
- 2 1/2 cup milk
- 6 Tbs cornstarch
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup heavy cream(30%fat or higher) b
- place cornstarch and 1/2 cup of milk in a bowl and whisk till cornstarch is dissolved completely. Add 4 yolks and whisk to combine.
- In a small saucepan heat remaining 2 cups milk, sugar, and vanilla. Stir to dissolve sugar. do not bring the milk to a full boil, just until bubbles form around the adges. turn off the heat.
- Temper the eggs- add 1/3 cup of the hot milk to the egg mix, in a slow stream while whisking constantly. DO NOT pour it directly in or you will scramble the eggs. Add another 1/3 cup of milk in the same way. The eggs should now be hot.
- Pour the hot eggs into the remaining milk in the saucepan and bring the heat up again. Add the cream. Whisk constantly for 2/3 minutes until the mixture changes to a custard. (it will be the consistency of thick Pantene conditioner).
- Pour the custard into a shallow glass dish. Cover the top with plastic wrap, making sure thw wrap directly touches the top of the custard, corners and all. This will prevent a skin from forming on the top. Refrigerate until cold- a couple hours. I like to make this the day before i plan on using it.
- Optional- for a creamier custard, whip for about 30 seconds before placing in a piping bag!