Apple-Cinnamon Doughnuts

Our family (starting with Tim’s parents and maybe even before) holds hands and sings a prayer before dinner. (So consider yourself warned if you ever join us for dinner.) Perhaps the most beloved song is the one we call “Johnny Appleseed”. The tradition is that the youngest member of the family is given the opportunity to solo on the word appleseed. Well, back in 2004, as Oakley was still learning the song, the following was our version…

All: Oh, the Lord is good to me
All: And so I thank the Lord
All: For giving me the things I need
All: The sun, the rain, and the…
Aspen (then almost 4 years old): Say ‘apple’, Oakley
Oakley (then almost 2 years old): Apple!
Aspen: Say ‘seed’, Oakley
Oakley: Seed!
Aspen: The Lord is good to me.
Oakley: Amen

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Then one night in October of that year, it took a slightly different turn…

All: Oh, the Lord is good to me
All: And so I thank the Lord
All: For giving me the things I need
All: The sun, the rain, and the…
Tim: Say ‘appleseed’, Oakley
Oakley: Apple!
Tim: Say ‘appleseed’, Oakley
Oakley: Apple!
Tim: Say ‘appleseed’, Oakley
Oakley: Apple…seed!
All: Yay, Oakley!!!!

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And yay for these apple-cinnamon doughnuts!

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Apple-Cinnamon Doughnuts

adapted from Michael Ruhlman’s Twenty

makes about 40 small doughnuts

Don’t know yet what to make for Thanksgiving dessert – other than pumpkin pie, that is? Here’s your answer: cinnamon apple doughnuts. Your family will be thankful. They’re not a bad way to start the day either.

These are not yeasted doughnuts. Rather, they’re made from pate a choux, the versatile pastry dough that can baked, boiled, or fried. Baking brings about gougeres (cheese puffs), eclairs (cream puffs), and profiteroles (puffs with ice cream and chocolate sauce). Boiling results in gnocchi. And frying gives you these babies.

Pate a Choux

  • 8 tablespoons (110 grams) butter
  • 1 cup (236 grams) water
  • 1 cup (140 grams) all-purpose flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large eggs

Apple Filling

  • 3-4 tart apples such as Granny Smith, Winesap, or Arkansas Black (3 cups/360 grams peeled, diced apples)
  • 1½ teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 3 cups (600 grams) sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • oil for deep-frying, such as canola or peanut oil

In a small saucepan over high heat, bring butter and water to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add flour and salt. Stir until flour absorbs water, becomes a paste, and pulls away from sides of pan. Cook for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Stirring rapidly, add eggs one at a time, and stir until completely incorporated. Let cool.

While dough is cooling, combine sugar and cinnamon in bowl and set aside. (Yes, this will probably make too much. Having a generous amount helps coat the hot doughnuts quickly and evenly. Keep any extra until next time or use it to make cinnamon toast the next morning. Or just reduce the amounts of cinnamon and sugar.)

Peel and dice apples. Add lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Then add spiced apples to dough and mix well. Heat oil to 350°F. Scoop out apple dough with small disher (size 40) or just use 2 spoons. Drop dough balls into hot oil. (Alternatively, use pastry bag or Ziploc bag with corner snipped off and pipe out 2½ inch sections of dough into hot oil.)

Cook until golden brown and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes. Check if center is set and warm by cutting open a doughnut. (Eat it as your reward.) Remove doughnuts from oil and place on wire rack lined with paper towels and set above sheet pan (or use bowl lined with paper towels). Blot doughnuts and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.

Serve immediately or keep warm in 250°F oven (use convection if you’ve got it) for about 20 minutes.

Note: Strain and reuse oil one more time.

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