These Classic Apple Fritters Doughnuts are just like the ones from your favourite bakery or donut shop. Make them at home to enjoy anytime (and they freeze beautifully!)
If there is a better treat to enjoy with my Sunday morning coffee, I don’t know what it is. Homemade Apple Fritters have been on my baking bucket-list for some time and a rainy Saturday afternoon presented the perfect opportunity to tackle them. The recipe comes from “Top Pot Hand Forged Doughnuts” – a doughnut shop from Seattle. I had picked up their cookbook a while back and just knew they’d offer up a recipe that wouldn’t disappoint. (I have adapted/simplified the process a bit here though, as I found the original un-necessarily complicated).
Let me just say first off – these are the real deal. They are made with a great yeast-raised dough, which is chopped together with cooked apple chunks and perfectly speckled with cinnamon. Once they are cooked up, they are lovely and browned on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. The glaze adds a thin layer of sweetness and makes these beautiful donuts sparkle.
I don’t do a lot of deep frying, but in my world, it just isn’t really a donut if it isn’t fried, so it has to be (with all due respect to anyone who bakes donuts out there :). That said, if you’re careful to keep your oil at the right temperature, you’ll find that these donuts will absorb very little oil and won’t be at all greasy. I really recommend a deep fryer, for best results. I have a small one, which I love, because it doesn’t take gallons of oil to fill it. It also keeps the oil at the perfect temperature throughout the frying process, so there’s no fiddling around. One less thing to worry about. Alternately, you can use a heavy, deep pot with a thermometer to monitor oil temperature.
Cook your fritters until they are a darkish golden colour. They’ll look lovely and you’ll ensure that the dough is well cooked, as well. These are best on the day they are cooked, but they freeze beautifully, so don’t hesitate to pop any extras into the freezer to enjoy later.
Classic Apple Fritters Doughnuts
- 1 1/2 Tbsp active dry or instant yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 2 cups + 4-6 Tbsp. bread flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 tsp. white sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp mace (can substitute nutmeg)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbsp shortening or lard
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 2 medium tart apples, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp bread flour
- 2 cups confectioners/icing sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp light corn or golden syrup
- 1/4 tsp alt
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbsp white sugar
- 1/3 cup water
For the dough: In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the yeast to the 1/2 warm water. Add the 2 tsp. of sugar, stir and let stand 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, mace and salt. Set aside.
When yeast is ready, add the shortening, egg and vanilla and mix with the paddle attachment on low speed for 1 minute (to break up the shortening). Add about 1/3 of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Add a second third of the flour mixture and again, mix until combined. Switch to the dough hook and add the remaining flour mixture. Knead with the hook until all that flour is incorporated. Now start adding flour in 1 Tbsp. increments, until the dough comes together, clears the bottom of the bowl and is becoming smooth. Knead on medium for about 2 minutes more. The dough should be smooth and but still a bit moist (but not sticky).
Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set-aside to rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
Meanwhile, make the apple filling. Place the diced apples, sugar and lemon juice into a skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until all the liquid has evaporated and the apples are softened, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl to cool completely before using.
When bread has finished it's first rise, remove to a lightly floured surface and roll into a 10-inch x 10-inch square. Sprinkle the apples over one half of the dough. Sprinkle the 1 Tbsp. cinnamon evenly over the apples and then sprinkle with the 1 Tbsp. flour. Fold the empty side of the dough over the side with the apples. Using a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut the dough into 1/2-inch wide strips from top to bottom. Repeat cutting 1/2-inch strips from side to side, so you end up with small chunks of dough. Gather up the dough bits and cut some more, from different directions, until it is in small chunks and evenly mixed with cinnamon/apples/dough etc.
Using floured hands, roughly shape into a 12-inch long x 3-inch wide log. Cut the log into 1 inch slices. With each slice, roughly pat into a disc, about the size of your palm (use some additional flour, as needed, if your dough is sticky). Place the dough discs onto a parchment lined or floured baking sheet, leaving a couple of inches of room around each. Repeat with all 12 dough pieces. Cover with plastic wrap that has been sprayed on the under-side with baking spray and set-aside to rise until doubled again, about 30-45 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. Add the icing sugar, corn syrup, salt and vanilla in a large bowl. Set aside. In a small saucepan, bring the water and white granulated sugar to a boil over high heat then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 1 minute. Add this mixture to the bowl with the icing sugar and whisk until all the sugar and has been incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.
When dough is about ready to cook, heat oil in a deep fryer to 370° (alternately, use a heavy deep pot and a thermometer to monitor temperature). Fry each donut until deep golden on the underside (1 1/2 - 2 minutes), flip over and fry the other side. (*time and temperature may need to vary. Watch closely the first few to determine timing. If they seem to be browning too quickly, lower temperature slightly). Remove to a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet. While still quite warm, dip into prepared glaze and return to cooling rack to cool completely.