I recently ate my first apple cider doughnut; it was cushiony and soft, heady with autumn spices and dusted with coarse sugar. I’m not usually a fan of cake doughnuts, but I love anything apple cider-flavoured, so I decided to make my own version with yeast. There’s something really exciting about making doughnuts at home – they’re one of those "look what I made!" foods – and these ones taste delicious fresh out of the fryer.
- 375 g (2½ cups) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for kneading
- 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 2¼ tsp active dry yeast
- 60 g (¼ cup plus 1 tsp) caster sugar
- 180 ml (¾ cup) apple cider
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra, for deep-frying
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 15 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 110 g (½ cup) white sugar (optional)
- 1 tbsp ground cinnamon (optional)
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl to combine, then set aside.
Combine the yeast and 1 tsp sugar in a bowl. Heat 125ml (½ cup) apple cider until it’s warm but not hot. Add it to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Let it sit until it’s foamy, about 5 minutes.
Add the remaining 55 g (¼ cup) sugar, remaining 60 ml (¼ cup) apple cider, egg yolks, vegetable oil and vanilla to the yeast mixture and whisk to combine. Add to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and begins to form a ball.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Scatter the butter pieces over the dough and knead until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic, about 6–8 minutes. You might need to add up to 35 g (¼ cup) of additional flour to keep the dough from being too sticky.
Form the dough into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled large bowl, turning to coat. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Line a baking tray with baking paper. Punch down the dough, transfer it to a lightly floured work surface and roll it out until it’s about 1 cm thick. Using an 8 cm round cutter, stamp out as many dough rounds as you can. Using a 3 cm round cutter (or, in my case, an icing tip), stamp out the inner holes. Place the doughnuts and holes on the prepared baking tray. Gather the dough scraps and repeat. Discard any remaining dough scraps. Cover the doughnuts and let them rise until they’re about 2 cm in height, about 30 minutes–1 hour.
Fill a heavy-based saucepan with 5 cm of extra vegetable oil. Heat the oil over medium heat until it reaches 180˚C on a thermometer. It should take a little while, so in the meantime, prepare a wire rack where the doughnuts will drain by laying a few sheets of paper towels over it. Combine the cinnamon sugar ingredients on a large plate and set it close by.
Once the oil is ready, add the first doughnut. Fry until golden brown, about 30 seconds, then flip it over (I used chopsticks). Add the second doughnut and repeat. Move the first one to the rack when it’s ready and continue frying the rest (I was able to balance frying three at a time).
Once the doughnuts have cooled a little, dip in the cinnamon sugar and coat until it’s generously covered. Move on to the doughnut holes. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Recipe from The Tart Tart by Linda Xiao, with photographs by Linda Xiao.