Doughnut of the season award goes to these Apple Pie Filled Doughnuts – fried yeast doughnuts stuffed with homemade apple pie filling then dusted with cinnamon and powdered sugar.
Do you like doughnuts? Delicious doughnuts? Well if you do, then you deserve some doughnuts.
Every time I hear doughnuts, I think of this YouTube video of doughnuts and pugs that my friend and I somehow discovered in college while studying one night. I have no idea why it’s about pugs, but hey the song is quite catchy. Since we’re talking about doughnuts, I’m so excited to talk about these Apple Pie Filled Doughnuts! Just as the name suggests, these are fried yeast doughnuts stuffed with homemade apple pie filling then covered in cinnamon and powdered sugar. I don’t even know where I got the idea except it’s now apple season and I wanted doughnuts. Most apple doughnuts I saw where either apple cider based or topped with apple pie filling; none were actually stuffed. After two attempts, I made apple pie filled doughnuts a reality. If you’ve never made doughnuts before, one – don’t be scared! And two – you’ll need some extra time to make the dough because it needs to rest and rise twice BUT I promise your patience will be rewarded.
At first I wasn’t sure how to stuff them. Normally you would put a smooth filling like cream or jelly into a piping bag and squeeze into the doughnut, but we are talking apple chunks that would get stuck. I decided to take a risk and stuff the doughnuts before frying by sealing two dough circles together. I wasn’t sure if the filling would somehow fall out or disintegrate, but the doughnuts turned out perfectly.
I’m not one to fry food at home, so my first attempt was baking filled doughnuts. I’ve baked doughnuts before, like my vanilla bean and carrot cake doughnuts. I bookmarked a cream-filled baked doughnut recipe awhile back, so I knew it was possible. I could use that recipe as my base then cut a slit and shove some apple pie filling into the middle. However, when I pulled my tray out of the oven, I was skeptical at what I saw. Baker’s instinct, I guess. I tasted one before stuffing and… it tasted like a sweet biscuit. Biscuits are not doughnuts. I tried imagining it filled with apple pie and cinnamon sugar dusted on top. Nope. Still a sweet biscuit. I knew I had to give into frying and opted for a new dough recipe altogether.
I have a deep fryer (this one, to be exact – Amazon affiliate link). Well, technically it’s not mine, but I borrowed it from my parents when I officially moved out of the house (which was like, 5 years ago. Oops). Since oil temperature tends to fluctuate once you start frying, I prefer using my deep fryer because it regulates the temperature the whole time. Except it was taking for-eve-r to heat to 350F (read: me being impatient). I quickly abandoned my fryer and heated the oil in a deep pot on the stove. You really do need a digital thermometer (I have this one – Amazon affiliate link) because the heat needs to be between 350F-355F. Too hot and your doughnuts will burn before the middle is cooked. Too cold and the doughnuts will be extra greasy from not cooking fast enough. When the temperature got to 365F, I stopped frying, turned the heat off, and waited for it to cool down before frying again. Once the temperature got to 349F, I turned the heat back on.
Remember when I said I had my deep fryer out but wasn’t working? I left it on the counter because I needed to clean it. Funny thing about my new apartment is my lack of counter space. I have only three counter space areas, two of which are constantly occupied with my dish rack, stand mixer, and a few other essentials, which means I have one small clear area for prep and dirty dishes. Since my fryer took up that last counter, I resorted to storing my perfectly-fried doughnuts on a box on the floor.
The one thing I hate most about frying is my apartment smelling like oil. When I came back later that evening, my apartment smelled, but instead of the usual fried oil, it smelled like doughnuts. I think I can live with that.
Equipment you may need:
- 2 tablespoons apple cider (or water)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup finely chopped and peeled baking apple
- 1/3 cup warm water (110F-115F)
- 1 package active dry yeast (0.25 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1/3 cup warm milk (110F-115F)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature and lightly beaten with a fork
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 3/4 - 3 cups all-purpose flour
- In a medium saucepan, add the apple cider, lemon juice, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and vanilla. Bring to a boil, whisking often. Boil until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the apples. Let cool.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the warm water and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add the melted butter, warm milk, sugar, egg, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and 1 1/4 cups flour. With the paddle attachment on a stand mixer or a regular hand mixer, beat until everything is combined (the dough will be wet and loose).
- Add another 1 1/2 cups flour and beat until the dough is slightly sticky and elastic. If it's still too sticky (sometimes due to the weather), add the remaining 1/4 cup flour. If using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook and beat for 4-6 minutes or until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. If not, knead the dough on a floured surface for 4 minutes.
- Place the dough in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise in a draft-free warm area until doubled in size, about an hour*.
- When the dough is ready, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-inch thickness. Using a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as possible and place on a lightly floured cookie tray. Gather up the dough scraps and repeat until the dough is gone. You should have 12 circles.
- Place 2 teaspoons of the apple pie filling in the middle of one dough circle. Dip a pastry brush in room temperature water and brush the edges of the dough. Add a plain circle on top, pressing the edges together with your fingers to seal**. Repeat with the remaining dough. You should end up with 6 filled doughnuts.
- Cover with a towel and let rest in a draft-free warm area until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
- In a shallow plate or bowl, mix together the powdered sugar and cinnamon.
- Heat 3 inches of oil in a deep pot or fryer to 350F. Line a few paper plates with paper towels.
- Once hot, fry a few doughnuts at a time (do not overcrowd!) until lightly golden brown on the bottom (roughly 1 1/2 minutes). Flip and fry until golden brown (another 1 1/2 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, remove each doughnut and drain on paper towels. While still hot, toss each one with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat until all of the doughnuts are fried. Doughnuts are best eaten the same day they are made.
The dough can be made ahead of time. Make the dough up until the first resting point. Place in a bowl, seal with plastic wrap, and store in the fridge for a day or two. Bring to room temperature before continuing.
*If the dough becomes too sticky while assembling, lightly flour the dough and your hands. You don't want to add too much flour, but you can dust the dough.
Source: Adapted from A Baker’s Field Guide to Doughnuts
Want more doughnuts and pastries to make?
Double Lemon Glazed Doughnuts