We are a donut family.
Doughnut. Donut. Does not matter. We love fried yeast donuts in this house. Especially the ones with a good sticky glaze that adheres to our fingers and faces.
My children ask for donuts almost every weekend, but I constantly avoid making them because they’re always gone in sixty seconds when I do make them. My mom guilt won’t allow me to make them on a regular basis.
This past Sunday, I decided to surprise them with donuts.
But not just any donuts.
I made my absolute-favorite-donut-of-all-time, the glorious apple fritter. I found this great recipe from Seasons and Suppers, adapted it, and got to work in the wee hours of the morning so that I could surprise my kiddos when they woke up.
This apple fritter is a spiced donut with a hardened glaze and a yummy, chunky, sugary apple filling. It’s rustic and messy and delicious. If you’re up for cheat day, and you want to make it absolutely worth it (but then get right back to it, of course), then an apple fritter is it. It is IT!
Want to see how mine turned out? Keep reading!
In This Post:
This recipe starts with a basic enriched dough. Family, an enriched dough is simply a yeast dough that contains fat. In this enriched dough, the fat comes from eggs and shortening. The shortening gives these donuts the delicious, light but chewy texture that makes this donut worth the cheat.
As you can see from the beautiful, bubbly brown mess in my measuring cup, above, I started by proofing my yeast before starting a recipe. It’s one simple step at the beginning of a recipe that can help you avoid unrecoverable disaster after your first rise.
You see, if you’re working with dead yeast, and you dump it in with your dry ingredients without first activating it in warm liquid, you likely won’t know that it’s dead until you remove the tea towel after the first rise an hour later. I’d hate to see that happen to you, so I always recommend taking 8-10 minutes to proof yeast before you do anything else, regardless of what kind of yeast you’re using.
Cheat code: you can proof yeast while you double check all of your equipment and ingredients!
Not sure how to prep for a great bake? Check my mise en place post here!
By the time you have everything else gathered, you’ll know whether you’re working with viable yeast or not.
In the Mix
I started these apple fritters by adding the yeast mixture, egg and shortening to my stand mixer and mixing it together with my paddle attachment on low speed for about thirty seconds.
Next, I added about half of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl and mixed on low speed, just until the flour was absorbed by the liquid.
As you can see, it’s a shaggy, lumpy mess. But that’s okay! It’s supposed to look like that!
Time for the dough hook and the rest of the flour! I mixed the rest of the flour and let my mixer go on low speed (never exceeding level 2 on my mixer) for about four minutes.
I don’t add additional flour until I’ve mixed with the dough hook for at least 2-3 minutes, because I’ve found that the longer the dough hook works, the more that gluten bonds form on their own, and the less flour I ultimately have to add.
Beloveds, the kneading process is what causes flour, water, salt and yeast to become bread. You’ll be surprised at how much it will come together on its own, without extra flour. Your patience will pay off!
If you begin adding flour too soon during the kneading process, the dough gets over-floured in a hurry and you’ll have to do that “add some liquid, now add some flour, now add some liquid” dance that is…not my favorite.
In the video, below, I hadn’t added any flour other than what the recipe called for. You can see that, after about four minutes of mixing, it is already clearing the sides of the bowl.
At this point, I began adding flour one tablespoon at a time and letting it mix for at least 30-45 seconds. After another three tablespoons, it was ready to go! The dough was smooth and tacky, but not sticky to the touch.
Once the dough was done, I shaped it into a ball and let it rest for an hour.
Fill ‘Er Up
While the dough did its first rest, I prepped the apple filling. The ingredients are SO EASY:
I know the granny smith is the “It” apple for baking, y’all, but my sweet tooth demands that it be mixed with something just s touch less tart. So I threw a honeycrisp in there to shake things up.
Anyway, onto the filling! It’s a cooked filling, so I got to work immediately after the dough started its first rest period by peeling and dicing the apples. Once this step was done, I added the apples, sugar, and a pinch of salt to a saucepan and and cooked until absolutely no liquid remained. I removed the mix from the heat because I didn’t want the filling to be too hot when I put it on the dough.
Once the dough finished resting, I rolled it into a “rough” square.
Fam, don’t make fun of my square. I did my best and it was very early!
I added the apple filling to the bottom half of the rolled dough, then sprinkled cinnamon and more flour on top. The flour helps absorb any remaining moisture that might remain after cooking. Fruit can be tricky like that.
A quick foldover and the apples, cinnamon and flour disappeared under the second half of the dough.
Then I got to slicing…
And roughly shaping into something resembling a log. I know it looks a mess. You don’t have to tell me.
I’d be lying if I said I wan’t kind of worried at this point. But I pressed on, determined to have this batch ready in time for my children’s arrival downstairs.
No really. I literally cut the log into what I thought were 12 pieces and pressed each one between my palms. It…was eleven pieces.
The “shaped” fritters rested for another 40 minutes while I heated vegetable oil to 360 degrees Fahrenheit in my deepest cast iron pan and made the final glaze. My oil got a little hot so the first one got a little burnt. #ItHappens
Family, I love you, so I’m going to ask that you never ever leave your kitchen while you have oil on the stove. Hot oil can quickly become a fiery menace and can cause irreparable harm to a kitchen. Also, when deep frying, you want a heavy, deep pot. I love fried dough, but I love kitchen safety even more.
I cooked each fritter for about a minute and fifteen seconds per side, then flipped to the other side. You’re looking for a deep, deep golden brown. It’s the color right before burnt.
I ate the burnt one though. It wasn’t that bad.
Once the fritters are out of the oil, they quickly go into the glaze. Like, as soon as you’re comfortable touching them, they should be glazed and set on a cooling rack so that the glaze can harden.
I might have slightly scorched my fingers during this process.
My son took one look at these fritters and started to run for the hills. But then, his angel of a sister said she’d try one bite. This story ends with me snatching the tray of still-warm fritters from them before they each took a third one!
As usual, the fritters slowly dwindled during the day when I wasn’t watching, and there were loud complaints when I took two of them next door. TWO. I’ve added these adapted fritters to my family’s donut menu and I am looking forward to making them again!
Until next time!
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