Now, first off, I may as well tell you that these doughnuts, if made along the lines of Keller's process, are a real, well, process. I chose to think of it as a real labour of love. In the future, I plan to try making them again and try to figure out a good way to make them with a faster method, but I like to think that the longer method helped the flavors in this really meld and concentrate.
I almost hate to admit this, but I haven't ever had an Apple Cider Doughnut. Until a couple of weeks ago I didn't even know that we had any cider mills here in Utah. I did find one though and bought two half gallons of their extremely delicious and incredible cider and while we drank the pasturized one, I had great things in mind for the 'raw' half gallon. Anyway, when Mark (aka Manggy) entered this incredible dessert offering in the Art You Eat - Autumn! Event I was obsessed all over again with the idea of apple and doughnuts.
See, here's the thing. Someone says 'cider doughnuts' and I'm just filled with a severe craving... but, for what? I don't know what they are like. Sure, I've seen some other recipes around, but I haven't had them myself. Until I started doing some more research recently I didn't even know what kind of doughnuts they were.
So... now that you know that I really don't know anything at all about cider doughnuts, if this is sacred ground I am about to stomp all over, I hope you will keep in mind that this is just one girl's opinion and should be treated as such. Don't go getting all up-in-arms at me for not knowing. I am just coming in with my own craving and seeing if I can make something to satisfy it.
The problem was that when I thought of cider doughnuts I envisioned light, but not too airy, tall yeast doughnuts, flavored liberally with spices and tasting of apple cider and having a sticky apple cider fragrant glaze and sugary crumbs. I basically wanted to smell and taste the cider and spices in a yeast raised doughnut.
So, since I didn't find that anywhere else (but if you know of another recipe - please share!) and set out to create something to fill that void for me.
Since these lovely doughnuts are absolutely beautiful in my opinion, well, they are my entry into my own Art You Eat - Autumn Event. You still have until next week - November 5th - to enter your Autumn entry. It can be something you make especially for the event, or something you have already posted. You can enter as many times as you want. Read here to find out all the details!
Apple Cider Yeast Doughnuts
- Reduce the cider, cool to room temperature
- Using the cider, start the sponge, allow to rest
- Combine the starter and make the dough, refrigerate overnight
- Remove from the refrigerator, allow to rest
- Roll, cut and proof doughnuts
- Fry the doughnuts, glaze or dip in cinnamon-sugar, or do both!
- Eat, enjoy and repeat
1 1/2 cups fresh apple cider, reduced to 2/3 cup by bringing to a boil and then simmering for about 30 minutes over medium-low heat
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
4 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour, more as needed
3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
4 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Canola oil for deep-frying
Cinnamon Sugar Mixture:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine in a small bowl and mix together well.
Apple Cider Glaze:
1/2 cup fresh apple cider
3 cups confectioners' sugar
Whisk together in a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Whisk well, and simmer for 5 minutes or until golden, clear, thick and syrupy. Remove from heat and pour into a shallow dish to allow to cool slightly before dipping the doughnuts.
For the Doughnuts:
Place the reduced cider at room temperature in the bowl of a mixer. Sprinkle the yeast into the cider and whisk to dissolve. Add the flour to the bowl and, using the dough hook, mix slowly until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Transfer this sponge to a bowl, cover, and let rest and proof at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours, until it has doubled. (You could also place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight at this point if you want.)
Part 2: Combine the yeast into the milk in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve. Place 1 1/2 cups of the flour, the sugar, the spices and the salt in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mixing on low speed, pour in the milk and yeast mixture, followed by the egg yolks and butter. Mix for a minute to combine.
Add the proofed sponge and the remaining flour. Continue to beat at low speed until combined. Turn up the speed slightly and knead the dough for 4 to 5 minutes, or until it has formed a ball and cleans the sides of the bowl. If the dough seems wet, it may be necessary to add 1 to 2 more tablespoons flour. Cover the bowl and let the dough proof overnight in the refrigerator.
To shape the doughnuts:
Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a 3/4-inch thickness. Cut out the doughnuts and place them and the doughnut holes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover the doughnuts with a sheet of plastic wrap that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
At this point, the doughnuts can be frozen for several days, refrigerated, or allowed to rise at room temperature. If they're frozen, defrost them and then allow them to rise at room temperature for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. They can be refrigerated for several hours or overnight, to rise slowly. When you remove them from the refrigerator, uncover them and let them finish proofing in a warm place for 20 to 30 minutes. If they have not been refrigerated or frozen, they should rise at room temperature in about 15 minutes. Once proofed, they will have risen to approximately 1 inch.
To cook the doughnuts:
In a deep heavy large saucepan, heat canola oil for deep-frying to 325 degrees F. Add a couple of the doughnuts and holes to the oil - don't crowd them in - and cook for approximately 30 seconds on the first side. Flip the doughnuts and fry for 1 minute on the second side, then turn back to the first side to cook for an additional 30 seconds, or until a deep golden brown. Remove the doughnuts, drain them briefly on paper towels, and toss them in a bowl with the cinnamon sugar. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts.
Dip the doughnuts while still warm directly in your choice of the glaze, the cinnamon-sugar, or both and place on a cooling rack to set for a minute. Serve while still warm.