November 5th is around the corner and the scent of old leaves and smoke is in the air. It’s a time of year for food you can eat with your hands while stood around a fire – preferably something sweet, sticky and packed with all the spices of the season.
Seasoned Cookery School in Derbyshire have just the thing. ‘How do you make toffee apples?’, we asked them. ‘We can do better than that,’ answered the chefs behind their baking courses, and fired over this recipe for something even better: toffee-apple doughnuts.
Don’t be put off by the number of ingredients or the number of steps involved – these explosively tasty balls of delight are the stuff that the fondest childhood memories are made of. And don’t feel guilty for snaffling more than one – autumn is officially open season on carbs. After all, you’ve got to get through the winter somehow…
For the doughnut dough
- 150g plain flour
- 150g strong white flour
- 7g fast action yeast
- 20g caster sugar
- 20g melted butter
- 20g caster sugar
- 60g milk
- 60g water
- 1 litre of sunflower oil, for frying
For the crème patisserie filling
- 330ml whole milk
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
- 4 egg yolks
- 50g caster sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 tablespoon plain flour
For the spiced apple sauce
- 2 bramley apples, quartered and peeled
- 1/2 tsp mixed spice
- 50g demerara sugar
For the toffee
- 150ml double cream
- 50g butter
- 50g light soft brown sugar
- Pinch of Cornish Sea Salt
- Dried apple slices to decorate (optional)
1. To make the dough, add all of the dough ingredients except the oil and half of the water to a large bowl. Mix together until you have a dough, then gradually add the remaining water.
2. Knead on a lightly floured surface for 10 minutes until you have a soft, elastic dough.
3. Put the dough in a clean bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise until it has nearly doubled in size (approximately 1–2 hours depending on temperature).
4. Divide the dough into 12 pieces (this should work out at around 40g per doughnut) and shape each piece tightly into a ball. Place on a baking tray on parchment paper with plenty of space in between and allow to rise for another hour.
5. While the doughnuts are rising make the fillings. For the crème patissiere, pour the milk and vanilla paste into a heavy-based pan and bring gradually to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 30 seconds.
6. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale, then whisk in the cornflour and plain flour. Pour the vanilla-infused milk onto the eggs, whisking continuously, then pour back into the pan.
7. Bring back to the boil, whisking continuously over a medium heat and cook for one minute. Pour the crème patisserie into a bowl. Cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin from forming and leave to cool. Transfer to the fridge to chill.
8. For the spiced apple compote, add the butter and sugar to the pan. Once the butter has melted, add the apple and spices and continue to cook until apple is soft, but still has bite.
9. For the toffee sauce, add the cream, butter and sugar to a pan. Gradually warm until bubbling and sauce has darkened to a toffee colour. Stir in the pinch of salt.
10. Preheat a deep fat fryer to 180°C (or a deep casserole pan, but if doing so you must use a electronic thermometer. If it’s too hot, the oil will become dangerous, and if too cold, the doughnuts will absorb too much oil and become very greasy). Once the fryer is to temperature, lower the doughnuts into the oil and cook each side for 1–2 minutes, until golden brown. Once cooked remove from the fryer, drain on some kitchen paper and set aside to cool. Don’t overcrowd the fryer as this will make the oil temperature drop.
11. Once all the doughnuts have cooked you can start filling them. Swirl 1/3 of your spiced apple compote and a tablespoon of your toffee sauce into your crème patissiere then spoon this into a piping bag.
12. One by one, make a small cut in the side of each doughnut then pipe the spiced apple crème patissiere into the centre.
13. Decorate the doughnut with a slice of dried apple and a drizzle of the remaining toffee sauce. They can be served warm or cold with the remaining compote.