Saturday, November 15, 2014

Apple Cider Donuts with Vanilla Bean Cider Glaze

When I worked at the bakery we did not make donuts. In fact, when asked we would respond we don't do donuts with a bit of an air. At the time it wasn't an acceptable member of the pastry family. This was back before chefs were considered celebrities. Thankfully, once they achieved such star status a few clever chefs added the lowly donut to their repertoire and donuts began springing up (pun intended) all over the place. While superstar chefs may have turned the pedestrian donut into chic pastry, it is our mothers and grandmothers who knew all along that nothing says loving like a homemade donut warm from the fryer, still dripping with glaze. It is the ultimate comfort food.

These cake donuts get an autumn twist with apple cider and some warm spices. Although there isn't any yeast the dough does need to rest for an hour or two. Or the dough can be made the night before and left to rest in the refrigerator overnight then fry the donuts hot and fresh for breakfast. The glaze can be made ahead, too and refrigerated. Warm slightly to bring back to the correct glaze consistency.

The only trick to making donuts (or any fried food) is the keep the oil at the correct temperature so keep a thermometer in the oil and keep an eye on it. If the oil is too hot you will burn the outside before the inside is cooked. If the oil is too cold the dough will absorb the oil and the donut will be greasy. As with all donuts they are best eaten the day they are made, but that shouldn't be a problem, as these tend to disappear quickly.

Apple Cider Donuts with Vanilla Bean Cider Glaze
makes about 20, 2 1/2 inch (6.35 cm) donuts

3 1/4 cups (455 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 eggs
2/3 cup (130 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup (160 ml) apple cider
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60 g) unsalted butter, melted
Oil for deep frying

In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer beat eggs and sugar until light yellow and thick. Add vanilla beat to incorporate. Alternate adding the flour mixture, apple cider, and butter in two additions. Mix just until incorporated after each addition. Cover the dough and chill for 1-2 hours or overnight.

Roll out the dough to about a 1/2 inch (1.27 cm) thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into donuts with a 2 1/2 inch (6.35 cm) round cookie cutter and a 1 inch (2.54 cm) cookie cutter for the center. Heat oil to deep fry on a thermometer 375℉ (190℃). Fry donuts a few at a time until golden about 1 minute per side, turning once with a slotted spoon. Drain on paper towels. Cool. Dip in Vanilla Bean Cider Glaze.

Vanilla Bean Cider Glaze

4 cups (about 1 liter) apple cider
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup (120 g) dark or light brown sugar, packed
4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60 g) salted or unsalted butter
1 cup (125 g) confectioners sugar

Split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrap out the seeds. Put the seeds and the vanilla bean pod in a skillet with the apple cider. Cook over medium high heat until reduced to about 1 1/2 cups (375 ml). Add brown sugar and butter. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Whisk in confectioners sugar until smooth and the consistency of glaze. It may take more confectioners sugar. Use to glaze the Apple Cider Donuts.

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