Doughnuts have always been one of my favorite desserts. But what’s not to like about sweet, chewy, deep-fried dough? While I loved eating the pillowy rounds of sugar-drenched sweetness, the idea of making doughnuts in my own kitchen always seemed off limits. I didn’t have a deep frier, after all. The fact of the matter, however, is that making doughnuts is not as challenging a feat as it appears. All you need are a few basic ingredients, a big pot, and—if you’re like me, a little bit of self control.
For these fritters, a good dough is key. I like to use an adapted version of Serious Eats’ Yeast-Raised Doughnuts, then combine it with my own hard cider-infused cinnamon-apple filling. Use a robust, flavorful cider like Bull Run Cider’s Powerhouse Dry. This Oregon-based cidery sources all of the ingredients locally, either on-site or within a 100-mile radius of its location in Forest Grove. Experiment with other cider and fruit combinations to make your own interpretation of this sweet and indulgent dessert.
Prep time: 45 minutes
Inactive: 8 hours (or more)
Cook time: 15 minutes
For the dough:
1 ⅛ cups whole milk, warmed to 90 ℉
½ cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
2 whole eggs, beaten (at room temperature)
¾ cup butter, melted (cooled to room temperature)
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Oil for frying
For the filling:
2 ½ pounds Fuji apples, diced small
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ cup sugar
½ cup Bull Run Cider Powerhouse Dry
For the glaze:
½ cup whole milk
2 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Note: Make the dough at least eight hours in advance, and up to two days before you plan on frying the doughnuts.
In a small bowl combine the milk, sugar and yeast and let rest, about 5 minutes to activate. In another small bowl, whisk together butter and egg. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, salt and cinnamon. On low speed, slowly beat in the butter and egg mixture.
Once all of the butter and egg mixture has been added to the dry ingredients, slowly beat in the yeast mixture. Once incorporated, turn speed up to medium and beat for 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and stretchy.
Place dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and allow the dough to slow-rise in the fridge overnight.
Once your dough has risen and is ready to use, it’s time to prepare the filling.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter together with sugar and cinnamon and saute apples in mixture until tender, about 7 minutes. Once tender, add cider and continue cooking until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Roll out dough into a ½-inch thick rectangle. Spread ¾ of the apple filling onto the dough. Roll the dough into a long tube (as if you were rolling up cinnamon rolls). Flatten the tube and top with remaining apple filling. Roll the dough into a big, round cinnamon roll-type ball and roll back out into a rectangle. Some filling may fall out while doing this—work any fallen pieces back in where you can. Cut the dough into 12 squares, you can shape the doughnuts into rounds by hand later, if you want.
Once the doughnuts are formed, heat up 2 ½ inches of oil to 375 ℉ in a big pot. I like to use a Dutch oven, but any large pot will work.
While the oil is heating, line a baking sheet with paper towels and prepare the glaze by combining the milk, powdered sugar and vanilla. Set aside.
Once the oil has heated, drop three of the fritters into the oil and cook until golden brown, about 1 minute on each side. Place doughnuts on paper towel-lined baking sheet and repeat until all of the doughnuts have cooked.
Brush the tops of each fritter with the glaze. These fritters are best when served warm.