Apple Pie Brioche Doughnuts

I know it isn’t “officially” fall yet, but I am one of those annoying people who starts to think apple pie and hot chocolate as soon as September gets here.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d know my undying love for brioche doughnuts and apple pie. So with all of that fall anticipation in the air, I combined two of the best things in the world and the Apple Pie Doughnut was born! The “apple pie” flavour in this recipe comes from a cinnamon-spiced apple pie filling that’s generously piped into each doughnut. These doughnuts really are the best way to celebrate apple season – light and tender, perfectly rich without being heavy or sweet, flavoured with cozy spiced apples. 

Notes:
*This recipe makes 10-12 doughnuts, using a 2-inch round cutter or 5-6 doughnuts using a larger cutter. If you do not have a round cutter, use any round object with sharp edges.
*Unlike some of my other doughnut recipes, the filling need not be made a day ahead. You can make it while the doughnuts are proofing for the second time. Just make sure the filling is at room temperature before transferring to the piping bag.
*Although I have given proofing times, the actual time may vary depending on the weather. To test, press your finger into the dough and it should spring back slowly and not completely. Another indication of whether your doughnuts are properly proofed is a tan line in the middle of the doughnuts when fried.
*These doughnuts are best eaten the same day. When stored in the fridge, they may lose their light and pillowy texture.
*The brioche dough can be frozen for up to a month. Shape into a ball, place inside a freezer bag,  press all the air out and seal. When you want to bake with it, place in the fridge to thaw overnight. Then turn onto a floured surface and let it rest for 20 minutes.
*Temperature is important when frying the doughnuts. Cooking thermometers are cheap and make the frying process a whole lot easier. Ideally the oil should be at 175-180°C.

Ingredients:

For the brioche dough:

  1. 3 g active dry yeast
  2. 80 g milk, luke-warm
  3. 230 g all purpose flour
  4. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  5. 9 g caster sugar
  6. 2 eggs
  7. 35 g unsalted butter, soft and cubed

For the apple pie filling:

  1. 2 apples, cored, peeled and diced
  2. 1 tablespoon salted butter
  3. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  4. 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 2 teaspoons flour

For assembly and frying:

  1. 300 ml vegetable oil
  2. 70 g caster sugar, for tossing
  3. 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Method:

To make the brioche dough:

  1. Mix the yeast with the warm milk, and let the yeast foam double in size.
  2.  To make the brioche dough, mix the flour, sugar, activated yeast, salt and eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until it’s all combined. Then turn up the speed to medium high and let it run for about 5 minutes, or until the dough starts coming away from the sides and forms a ball.
  3. Slowly add the butter to the dough, a cube at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated, mix on high speed for 5 minutes until the dough is glossy, smooth and very elastic when pulled.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave to proof in the bowl until it has doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Punch down the dough, cover it and place in the fridge overnight.
  5. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll into a rough shape with 1 inch thickness. Using a 2 inch round cutter, cut as many doughnuts as you can. Re-roll and cut using the scraps. Place on a lightly oiled baking tray, leaving plenty of room for them – so they don’t stick together while they proof. Cover lightly with a towel and leave at room temperature for 20-25 minutes.

To make the apple pie filling:

  1. In a skillet over low heat, add the butter and let cook until slightly browned (about 2 minutes).
  2. Then add in the apples, cinnamon, salt and sugar. The apples will release water at this point. Cook until the apples are soft. Then add in the flour and mix until the liquid at the bottom has thickened.
  3. Take off the heat and stir in the vanilla. Leave aside to cool. Once cool, transfer to a piping bag.

To fry and assemble:

  1. Place the oil into a large heavy-bottomed pan set over medium-low heat. Let the oil reach a temperature of 175-180 degrees.
  2. While the oil comes to temperature, add the caster sugar and cinnamon to a bowl, mix and set aside. Line a baking tray with paper towels to absorb excess oil.
  3. Once at temperature, fry the doughnuts. Don’t overcrowd the fryer – do two to three per batch, depending on the size of your pan. Place on paper towel and then toss in sugar while doughnuts are still warm.
  4. Once done frying and coating, use a sharp knife to make a small hole into the sides of the doughnuts.
  5. Pipe the filling into the hole, making sure that a bit of it oozes out the top of the doughnut. Serve same day at room temperature.

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