Recipe: apple cider doughnuts
Autumn is when the nights drop below freezing and we throw the big flannel quilt over our bed. In the mornings, Kaweah is slower to stretch out because the cold makes her hind legs stiff. When I look south from our third floor loft, I can see fresh snow mantled over 13,294-foot James Peak turning pink as the sun breaks the horizon in the East. The changing season is invigorating and I find myself making mental notes of things I want to do now that the weather is cooling down.
our resident fox scouting the yard at dusk
the skeletons of summer’s glory
A modest little parcel found its way into my mailbox the day before I set off for San Francisco. Lara Ferroni’s new book Doughnuts had been sent to me by her publisher. I smiled because I would be having dinner with Lara in just over 24 hours. Travel, dining out, and cool temperatures conspire to make me long for cooking or baking after having avoided the stove and oven for most of summer. What better way to get reacquainted with the kitchen than making some doughnuts?
totally counterproductive to the ass reduction plan
Choices! Choices! The book offers all manner of doughs – raised, baked, fried, cake, gluten-free, vegan, and then some. You can pair those with various glazes, flavors, styles. If I weren’t obsessed with a specific kind of doughnut, I would have had an awful time deciding which recipe to try first. Malasadas: I had those in Hawai’i and nearly went BLIND eating them. Sopapillas – ubiquitous in New Mexico and a necessary ending to any proper New Mexican meal. Crème brûlée – because it’s so brilliant! Bavarian cream – my favorite. French crullers – my other favorite. But I had to try the apple cider doughnuts first because I have been plagued with the most frustrating failure from last fall when I attempted to make them from a different source and had to throw the entire endeavor in the trash.
egg yolks taking a dive
The only deviation from Lara’s recipe was the apple cider. Instead of straight apple cider, I reduced mine to concentrate the flavor from one cup down to a quarter cup. Having never eaten an apple cider doughnut before, but always craving one at the very mention of it – I knew I wouldn’t regret that step.
pour in the apple cider (or in my case, the reduced apple cider)
stirring the dry ingredients in
My original plan was to bake the doughnuts because honestly, no one in this household needs to be eating anything fried. However, I completely struck out when I went into town looking for those cute doughnut pans. I stood in the aisle tapping my foot, hands on hips, brow furrowed and not seeing what I was looking for. “I guess I’ll have to fry them,” I muttered to myself. The woman next to me asked me what I was frying and I replied, “doughnuts.” She got this happy crazy look in her eyes. Certain words have that effect on people and I guess doughnuts is one of them.
after the dough has chilled
roll it out to 1/2-inch thickness
These doughnuts are forgiving. I know this because I rolled them out too thin at first, then had to re-roll them. I didn’t cut mine out in the traditional doughnut shape because 1) I don’t own a doughnut cutter and 2) I’m a bum. The biggest issue I have with doughnuts *is* the frying. You see, the last time I made apple cider doughnuts, I fried at the specified temperature and ended up with grease nuggets. Seriously inedible. If I fried them to golden, then the insides were raw. If I fried them long enough to cook the insides, they were soaked through with oil and disgusting. But a little research this time suggested heating the oil to: [TEMPERATURE - 3* (ELEVATION in ft/1000 ft)] which was about 25 degrees cooler. I tried it.
cutting out the doughnuts
frying them up
I still need to tweak the temperature, but it worked far better than the last fiasco. The first batch was a tad underdone in the middle, but the second batch was beautifully tender in the center with a crisp, brown outer layer. These doughnuts brown more than your average doughnut, so even if you think they’re burnt they probably aren’t. I was too lazy to glaze these so I opted for simple powdered sugar – but an apple cider glaze would have been an autumn extravaganza! The recipe was incredibly simple and easy to follow and the results were great. I’m still hoping to try out the baked version someday.
Be sure to visit the rest of the blogs on Lara’s virtual book tour:
October 12: CakeSpy
October 13: wasabi prime
October 17: the sophisticated gourmet
October 21: Cannelle et Vanille
October 22: uh, you’re reading it on use real butter!
October 25: Cream Puffs in Venice
And now to the giveaway! I have one copy of Doughnuts courtesy of Sasquatch Books to send to one of you good readers. Leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite doughnut with me before midnight (12:00 am) Tuesday, October 26, 2010 MDT. That means the minute before the deadline is Monday night. We’ll let Kaweah select the winner in some random manner. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, October 27, 2010. So the rules:
1) one comment per person please (making me delete multiples merely pisses me off)
2) deadline is midnight (12:00 am) MDT, Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Full Disclosure: I received two free copies of Doughnuts from Sasquatch Books- one to review without any obligation to post and one to give away if I wanted to (I wanted to).
1 3/4 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (30g) graham flour (I subbed all-purpose flour)
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsps (1 oz) unsalted butter or vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (120 g) superfine sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup apple cider (I used 1 cup apple cider, simmered down to 1/4 cup apple cider concentrate)
1/4 cup buttermilk
vegetable oil for frying
Whisk together the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sguar together. Add the egg yolks and beat until the mixture is fluffy and pale yellow. Use a wooden spoon to stir in the vanilla, cider, and buttermilk. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until the mixture comes together in a soft, slightly sticky dough. Cover and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/2-inch thick. Cut the doughnuts out with a 2 1/2 inch-diameter cutter. You can re-roll any scrap dough. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot until a deep-fat thermometer registers 360°F (335°F @8500 ft.). With a metal spatula, carefully place the doughnuts in the oil. Fry in small batches, taking care not to overcrowd the pot. Cook until a rich golden brown, about 1 minute on each side (a little longer @8500 ft.). Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Let cool to the touch before glazing and eating. You can also bake these doughnuts in a doughnut pan in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes, but they won’t achieve the same rich golden color.