So you think you don’t like doughnuts? Not fond of the harsh sweetness, the inevitably greasy and sugar-coated fingers, the chemical aftertaste? Well let me tell you.
You probably have been eating the wrong kind.
“A typical exchange went something like this
[I offer a marshmallow to someone]
”Oh, I don’t really like marshmallows…well fine, I’ll just try a small one.” [loud chewing noises coupled with some lip smacking] “Oh my gosh! I never knew marshmallows could TASTE like this! I don’t even like marshmallows, but I love these!” [grabs a few more, fade out on gobbling sounds]”
That may be somewhat hyperbolic but frankly it doesn’t matter, because that, right there, captures just how incredible a homemade good can seem when it compares to the mass-produced substitutes we are used to in this mass-produced world.
Food, in this respect, is unique—you don’t see people going around advertising locally-made, artisanal iPhones. The effect is especially pronounced with fragile desserts like doughnuts. At home, we have no need for preservatives or artificially bright colors or easy-to-prepare microwave versions. We can splurge on good, perishable ingredients. We can take our time to give the proper care to each little round (or square) of dough, or layer of pastry, or fold of meringue, or whatever. And more importantly, we can serve them warm.
|FUCK YES. source|
When you think of doughnuts, you’re probably not thinking of the crispy, fried exterior, the tender center with all of its fluffy sweetness, the crunch of the cinnamon sugar and the gooey, flavorful apple pie filling that you will find in THESE doughnuts, oh no—you’re probably thinking of, say, Dunkin Donuts or whatever.
And I’ve got nothing but love for Dunkin Donuts. It’s just...those aren’t THE doughnuts. They’re doughnuts, yes, but they’re not THE doughnuts. They’re not these, for damn sure.
|Would you ever see a Dunkin Donuts doughnut sitting on a wire rack, dripping with hot oil? Would you?|
Making homemade doughnuts is a labor of love. As I took lots of breaks in between component (dough chilling stages, reducing the cider, apple pie filling, etc.), the whole shebang took the better part of a Saturday afternoon, interspersed with homework and leisurely walks and other shit that socially awkward people do on weekends. The anticipation grows with each ingredient added, each stir given to the pot. And when you finally fetch each square of dough out of the fryer with that slotted spoon, the feeling of satisfaction is much, much greater than what is gained from simply buying a doughnut at the Farmer’s Market or the bakery.
Just trust me.
|No one's heart is immune to the fresh doughnut.|
Here’s the recipe.
Vegan apple cider doughnuts with stewed apple pie filling
Adapted from Vegan Desserts
Stewed apple filling
340 grams • diced apples • 3 cups
4 grams • lemon juice • 1 teaspoon
74 grams • dark brown sugar • 1/3 cup
3 grams • cornstarch • 1 ½ teaspoon
1 gram • cinnamon • ½ teaspoon
0.5 gram • ginger • ¼ teaspoon
122 grams • apple cider • ½ cup
366 grams • apple cider • 1 ½ cups
80 grams • apple butter • ¼ cup
4 grams • apple cider vinegar • 1 teaspoon
56 grams • coconut oil, melted • ¼ cup
437 grams • all-purpose flour • 3 ½ cups
100 grams • granulated sugar • ½ cup
14 grams • ground flaxseed • 2 tablespoon
8 grams • baking powder • 2 teaspoon
4 grams • baking soda • 1 teaspoon
2 grams • cinnamon • 1 teaspoon
0.5 grams • nutmeg • ¼ teaspoon
3 grams • salt • ½ teaspoon
96 grams • nondairy milk • 2/3 cup
About 1 gallon canola oil for frying
200 grams • granulated sugar • 1 cup
8 grams • cinnamon • 1 tablespoon
Start by making the filling so it is ready to go when your doughnuts are done. Combine apple, lemon juice, brown sugar, cornstarch, and spices in a medium saucepan and toss to coat apples. Add cider and stir well, ensuring that there are no clumps of cornstarch. Heat on low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 to 30 minutes or until the apple is tender and liquid has thickened. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using.
To make doughnuts, pour apple cider, apple butter, and vinegar in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-low heat and gently simmer until mixture has reduced to a volume of about ½ a cup—about 30 minutes. Turn off heat and add coconut oil. Let cool completely before using.
In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, ground flaxseed, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Pour in reduced apple cider mixture and mix on low speed until completely incorporated. Add nondairy milk and mix just until combined and the dough is smooth.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; place dough on one of them. Sprinkle a bit of flour on top of the dough. Roll dough out until it is about ½-inch thick. Chill dough in freezer for about half an hour, or until firm. Once chilled, cut out 2 to 2 ½-inch circles (or other shape—I used a 2-inch square) of dough using a cookie cutter and transfer to the other baking sheet; chill for another 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, break out the oil—pour into a large, heavy pot with high sides (being sure that the oil does not reach more than 2/3 of the way to the top). Turn on heat to medium and wait for oil to reach about 360 to 375 degrees F. When you are frying the doughnuts, the temperature will vary, so be prepared to change heat accordingly.
While you wait for oil to come to temperature, combine cinnamon and sugar in a small dish; set aside.
To fry doughnuts, slowly lower one round of dough into oil at a time with a large slotted spoon. Only fry three or four doughnuts at a time (depending on the size of your pot), being sure not to over-crowd. Cook each doughnut for about 60 seconds for the first side, then only 30 to 60 seconds on the second side, until the dough reaches a nice golden-brown color. Fish out finished doughnuts with slotted spoon and transfer to a wire rack for about a five minutes; then roll in cinnamon sugar while still warm. Let cool completely before stuffing.
To serve, spoon apple pie filling on top of each doughnut. Eat up those babies ASAP.
|Consider it a sculpture.|
This is another recipe from that Vegan Desserts cookbook (the other one being those butternut squash pancakes, which were also fabulous). Strangely, it called for stuffing the doughnuts with the filling as opposed to simply topping them—which makes no sense, as you can’t really stuff a cake doughnut. That’s domain of the yeasted doughnut. Not that it matters. It was just as wonderful to stack the apple mush on top all artsy-like and pretend that you’re some kind of fancy food stylist. Or something.
And, of course, the taste buds can’t exactly see what they’re eating.
|The mouth don't judge. It ain't about that life.|