Spiced Apple Doughnuts
Well, I warned you in my last post, but I have a hell of a lot of apple bakes coming your way, so prepare yourself. Up first on the list: Spiced Apple Doughnuts. I really tried to step outside of the regular apple bake list this year because, entirely unsurprisingly, there’s already a lot of apple baked goods on the blog – apple cakes, apple cinnamon rolls, apple crumble, apple crumble bars, apple pancakes, apple tart, & two different types of apple pie. I mean, you would think that I’ve nearly run out of apple things to bake by now, but the apple tree in our back garden seems to wave at me every time I look out the window, forcing me to get creative.
Ever since my first foray into the world of doughnut making a few months ago, I’ve been dreaming up different fillings & flavour combinations that would make for an interesting blog post. Admittedly, spiced apple was never quite at the top of the ‘doughnuts to bake’ list, but, as I said, the apple tree keeps waving pointedly through the window at me, begging me to use up as many apples as humanly possible. Next thing I knew, I was calling my family to come over & help Boyfriend & I polish off a tray of freshly baked doughnuts stuffed to the brim with a spiced apple filling (not that we really needed all that much help, but six doughnuts between two people is probably a bad idea.)
Let me be one of the first to tell you: doughnuts are so ridiculously easy to make, and they only involve a small bit of actual hands-on work. Which, quite frankly, is a dangerous thing to know if you are one of two self-professed doughnut addicts living under the same roof. The only truly hard bit of the process is when you have to sit around waiting for them to rise, but even taking that into consideration, we were tucking into freshly baked doughnuts about two & a half hours after I began making them.
Now, a few things. First, as with every bake, it is hard to please everyone with one single thing, The spiced apple filling got some mixed reviews, ranging from “oh-my-god-this-is-the-best-apple-sauce-I’ve-ever-had-in-my-whole-life!”, to Boyfriend thinking it was too clove-ey, but still delicious because, duh, it’s still inside a doughnut. Personally I thought it worked, it seemed to have the taste of autumn, but this is something to bear in mind if you aren’t too keen on the taste of cloves. Second, the doughnuts themselves got absolute raving reviews. Little pillows of happiness. Warm, squishy, fluffy, airy, & all of the other good words you can think of to describe a doughnut with – do I really need to convince you how good a doughnut is? Third, being the excellent human that I try to be, I had loaned my camera to Boyfriend’s brother for the day when I decided to made these, which meant I had to take the photos with my phone – which is why they aren’t great.
Makes six large doughnuts
Adapted from ‘The Great British Bake Off: Christmas’
- 200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 50g cold salted butter, cubed
- 7g sachet dried fast-action yeast
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 medium egg, beaten
- 80mls lukewarm full-fat milk
- 4 apples, peeled, cored, & chopped into small pieces
- 3 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
- 4 cloves
- 1 vanilla pod, cut in half length-ways
- a splash of water
- 1L sunflower/vegetable oil
- caster sugar, in a bowl for coating
- Lightly grease a large bowl with some of the sunflower oil; set aside.
- Place the flour in a different large bowl & use your fingers to incorporate the butter until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Stir through the yeast & the sugar & make a well in the centre of the bowl.
- In a small bowl, mix together the egg & the milk. Pour the egg/milk mix into the centre of the large bowl & quickly mix together until a soft dough forms.
- On a lightly floured surface, carefully knead the dough for about 5-minutes, until it is smooth & supple. Place the dough into the lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with cling film, & leave in a warm place for 1-hour, or until it has doubled in size. (It was freezing cold the day I made these, so I left the dough to rise in our oven that had been on earlier in the morning, but was still cooling down.)
- While the dough rises, make the filling. Place all of the filling ingredients together in a large pot & cook it gently over a low heat, until the apples are soft.
- Remove from the heat, & take out the cinnamon stick, the cloves, & the vanilla pod. Using a food processor, blend the apple mix into a smooth puree. Pour into a different bowl & set aside to cool.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.
- After the dough has risen, remove from the bowl & knock it back. Divide the dough into six evenly sized pieces & roll each into a smooth ball. Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheet, spaced well apart, covered with a layer of lightly oiled cling film, & leave to rise in a warm space for a further 45-minutes, or until doubled in size again.
- Prepare your doughnut station. Set up a cooling rack with some kitchen paper towel laid across it. Have the bowl of caster sugar nearby. Spoon the spiced apple filling into a piping bag fitted with a medium sized nozzle, & have nearby.
- In a large, deep pot, heat the sunflower oil (don’t overfill it – only 1/3 full) to 170C. Fry the doughnuts one at a time for 1-minute on each side, until a deep golden brown in colour & cooked all the way through. Once fried, place on the cooling rack until you have finished all the doughnuts.
- While the doughnuts are still warm, cut a little slit into the side of each and pump as much filling as possible into the centre. Once full, gently roll the doughnuts in the caster sugar & coat completely.
- Serve warm with a big cup of coffee!