Serious Eats: Recipes
Gluten-Free Tuesday: Vegan Apple Doughnuts
Apple doughnuts in March? Let me explain!
However, since I've received requests for gluten-free and allergen-free desserts, I set aside my buttermilk and egg-filled recipe to create an allergen-free doughnut instead.
But without the buttermilk and eggs, the doughnut's tenderness went too. In fact, during testing, my husband ate a doughnut and said, "Are these bagels or doughnuts? For a bagel this is good. For a doughnut, terrible." Harsh, right? Well he was right! I needed a way to get some tenderness back into the doughnuts.
Since the buttermilk is acidic, I tried sneaking some acid into the recipe. First I tried lemon juice and got, you guessed it, lemony doughnuts. While the flavor wasn't bad, it wasn't the old fashioned-style doughnuts I wanted.
Enter apple juice. I live in New York state's apple country. In the fall, apple cider doughnuts are everywhere. Thinking about those gave me an idea. Would the apple juice be acidic enough to bring tenderness to the dough? The answer was yes!
Like lemon juice, the apple juice also brought flavor with it. But, unlike the lemon juice, the apple flavor worked with the spices and brown sugar that were already in the dough. Success! (I liked the flavor and results from using "natural" apple juice or apple cider best.)
I've included some tips on making doughnuts below. This recipe makes cake doughnuts, so you'll be able to mix the dough and fry it up quickly.
Tips for Making Gluten-Free/Allergen-Free Doughnuts
- Keep them thick and small.This recipe makes cake doughnuts. After mixing, pat the dough into a large rectangle. To make the dough easy to transfer from the counter to the fryer, keep the dough about ½-inch thick and cut into 2 1/2-inch circles. This might seem like a small doughnut but it rises in the fryer.
- Generously flour your counter and doughnut cutters. This dough's a little sticky. A generous sprinkling of white rice flour prevents the dough from clinging to the counter. And be sure to dip the cutter into white rice flour before you cut each doughnut.
- Watch the oil temperature. Fry the doughnuts in 375°F oil. Hot oil ensures the doughnuts don't get greasy. Two things to remember: Don't crowd the fryer. If you fry too many doughnuts at once, your oil temperature drops. When frying doughnuts, give them space to move in the oil. In my small fryer, I only make two doughnuts at a time. And secondly, monitor the temperature throughout frying. Adjust as needed to keep the temperature at 375°F.
- Re-roll the dough. Since you want to keep the dough thick, you'll only get about six doughnuts out of the first "batch." Lightly knead the dough back together and re-cut. No gluten means the dough does not get tough when reworked.
- Place, don't drop, the dough into the fryer. To reduce splatter from the deep fryer, hold the dough close the surface of the oil. As soon as the dough hits the oil, gently place the doughnut into the oil. Don't hold the doughnut high above the oil and drop it in.
- Turn doughnuts. After about two minutes the doughnuts will rise to the top of the Dutch oven or deep fryer. When they do, turn them over with the handles of two wooden spoon. Again, be gently to reduce splatter.
- Make doughnut holes. Okay, you don't have to do this but you want to, right? Set aside the scraps from the center of the doughnuts. When you've fried the last large doughnut, pop these into the fryer, a few at a time. If you don't want to make doughnuts hole, roll the dough back together and cut out another full-sized doughnut.
- Eat 'em right away. These doughnuts do not age well. The batch makes about twelve doughnuts and, trust me, the leftovers are not great. Either eat them the same day or give them away.
About the author: Elizabeth Barbone of GlutenFreeBaking.com joins us every Tuesday with a new gluten-free recipe. Elizabeth is an alumna of the Culinary Institute of America and Mount Mary College. With her solid professional baking background, Elizabeth is known for creating gluten-free recipes that taste just like their wheat counterparts. She is the author of Easy Gluten-Free Baking.