Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd
Sonja_For The Pleasure Of Eating

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I’m Sonja and “For The Pleasure Of Eating” is my food blog.

Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds or discover new recipes, my blog is the perfect place to find ideas that impress your family and friends while creating a party in your mouth!

More about me and how I lost weight here.

 

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Plum Curd are a real fall treat with lots of flavour in the dough from the inclusion of sourdough, which makes every baked good just so much better. Apple Butter and boiled down cider add real apple taste.  The creamy plum curd inside will have you licking your fingers and looking for more.

Why You Want These

Inspired by Claire Saffitz Take on Apple Cider Donuts and the fact that I kept being disappointed by the general lack of flavour in shop bought donuts, I decided there has to be a better way to them, than what the oh-so-colourful donut shop fronts are trying to sell us as great thing.

I mean sure, they all look really pretty and I love all the flavour variations they come up with, but it’s just the filling and, with luck, the topping that have the flavour they show us. And I really want the dough to taste good. I mean, why eat the whole thing, if those two bits are all that is what I want it to be. And often not even that.

I’m sorry, I’m rambling. Donuts are a pet peeve of mine. If you enjoy the above mentioned ones, you might want to rethink making these, as they will spoil your taste for them forever.

So how to improve them?

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd

Sourdough

For a start. I mean, there are few baked goods that sourdough doesn’t improve. And, if you never tried it before: It doesn’t necessarily make your dough taste sour (though if you’d leave it for, say 2 days to ferment, it might add a stronger tang), but rather add that special something you can never quite place, when eating really good artisan bread.

On top of that it has a fair few benefits, one of them being a lower glycemic index when left to ferment (which we will). That’s pretty great in my book, as it means it will lead to less blood glucose spikes, as it releases the glucose slower, so you feel satisfied for longer.

Apple Butter

I got this idea and the boiled down cider from Claire Saffitz, who was also not overly satisfied with the general promise vs. delivery of taste of Apple Cider Donuts in particular. So she decided to add the flavour in pretty concentrated form right to her dough.
I absolutely loved the idea. But where on earth to find apple butter in Ireland? Of course I had to make it myself. And while I was at it, I figured I’ll write you a recipe.

This was one of the easiest ones I’ve made so far, as you basically cook down apples with sugar and spices, until you have a spread. Especially quick with a pressure cooker as I did here.

Pressure Cooker Apple Butter with Malt

Apple Cider

That one was decidedly easier to find! Apart from the strange alcohol buying times they have here, which meant when I went shopping in the morning, I couldn’t buy it. I had to wait until after 10am.
I live here for 16 years now, yet I keep forgetting, as I just buy very little alcohol.
Just grab any apple cider you enjoy, since it will be boiled down to ½ cup, leading to a very concentrated flavour.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd_ Ingredients

Protein Powder

If you read a few of my baked or breakfast recipes, you can skip this part. For those of you who haven’t:

Apart from the sourdough, which would be plenty of reasons to eat these, I’ve also added protein powder, which replaces part of the flour. Why, you ask, would I add protein?
Personally I found, while tracking my macros during my weight loss journey, I’m not even close to eating enough of it every day, as I’m not the biggest fan of meat and pulses. And while nuts for example are a great source for protein, they also have a lot of calories, so I can add them only sparingly, if I want to keep my weight.

Considering protein can help you keep your bones strong, help with building muscle, and help with feeling fuller for longer, I find it pretty important to get enough of it. And Protein powder is a very practical way for me to do so.

Now of course I could just drink a protein shake or two per day, but I’d rather not drink my calories, and instead prefer to find ways to include it into my food.
How do I do that? I replace up to ¼ of the flour and sugar in a recipe with it. Which, in my mind is a win/win situation.

Which Protein Powder?

I’m using MyProtein Cinnamon Danish for this recipe, as it goes really well with the spices. This is neither affiliated nor sponsored. Just the powder I found to taste best after trying a fair few. If you never found one you actually enjoy, give this one a try.

If you’d rather not use protein powder, use the same amount of flour instead and add a little more sugar.

Greek Yoghurt

Usually you would add butter to a donut recipe, but I opted for Greek Yoghurt, as it keeps the fat content slightly lower while still providing moisture and richness. You can substitute sour cream, here, but the calories will be a bit higher.

Plum Curd (optional filling)

These Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts are perfectly lovely on their own, hence me leaving half of them unfilled. But what would make them even better? A fruity and creamy filling of course.

Which is where The Spiced Plum Curd I made came into play. It fits really well with the apple flavour and fall theme and will make these just utterly irresistible.

Spiced Plum Curd

Spices

I’m using cinnamon and nutmeg here, as both just go so well with the apples. There is also already pumpkin spice in the apple butter, so both emphasize that flavour.

Remaining ingredients

The rest is your standard store cupboard baking ingredients. Flour (I’m using part white, part fine whole wheat), a little yeast, to support the sourdough starter in this fairly rich dough, sugar and eggs.

 

The Process

These Apple Cider Sourdough Donuts take a little time to get to their full flavour potential. That means you can plan ahead to make them and on the day you want them, simply roll out your prepared dough, cut them out and fry. They then get rolled in cinnamon sugar and potentially filled with the Spiced Plum Curd, but those few steps are fairly quick.

It’s mainly resting and waiting time before, with a little assembly. The long time estimation in the recipe is mostly owed to kneading and resting time.

Sourdough Feeding

Start 2 days before you plan to make these by feeding your sourdough starter. You’ll want to end up with ½ cup of active starter and a little left over for your next baking project.
If you are new to sourdough, check my sourdough starter guide. The same process applies for rye and white starter. For this recipe I’m using white.

Cider

If you haven’t done so already, start by boiling down your 2 cups of apple cider to ½ cup. Don’t worry if you go slightly too low, you can always add a bit of water back in. Leave to cool until lukewarm.

 

Activate Your Yeast

Add your active dry yeast to your lukewarm apple cider. It should start to bubble up within 10 minutes. If it does not, your yeast isn’t active anymore. You can still use it and rely on the sourdough for its rising abilities, but your donuts might end up a little less fluffy.
If you have used your yeast very recently and are sure it’s still active, you can skip this step and add both straight to the other dough ingredients.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd_ Process

Pre-Mix the Protein Powder

To avoid any lumps, I always pre-mix my protein powder with whatever liquid I’m using in my recipe.
I tend to use my Nutribullet, as it means I can also get my eggs foamy and add whatever other ingredients might need emulsifying.

In this case I added eggs, sourdough starter, vanilla extract, Greek yoghurt, protein powder and salt, since I was using the apple cider to activate the yeast in the meantime.
Add to whichever blender you are using and blend briefly or whisk in a smaller bowl by hand until no lumps remain and you end if with a creamy, fluffy mixture.

Making Your Dough

Since this will be a relatively sticky dough, I’m using my stand mixer here. If you don’t have one, you can knead by hand.

In the bowl of your stand mixer or any large bowl, if kneading by hand, add your flour, spices, yeast mixture, melted and cooled butter, sugars and protein-egg mix.

Stir with a spoon until you have a very rough mix, then process to kneading. Either by hand or with your mixer, until you have a smooth and elastic dough that comes away from the sides, but still sticks to the bottom of your bowl. This is a pretty soft and rich dough.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd_ Process

If it’s too soft, add a little more flour. If it’s too dry add a little bit of milk or water.
The dough will become more workable while fermenting.

Windowpane Test

To check if you have kneaded enough, perform the windowpane test: Stretch a piece of dough between your fingers, forming a “window”. You should be able to stretch it thin enough without breaking that you can see light shine through it.

At this point grease a bowl that fits into your fridge with a little oil, so your dough won’t stick.
With an oiled spatula or your oiled hands, form the dough into a ball by tucking it’s edges underneath itself. This will start giving it a little surface tension that we develop further later.

Resting and Stretching

The next step is the longest and least active one: Let your dough rest and the sourdough do its thing of fermenting and adding lots of layers of flavour to your donuts.

You could in theory, if your kitchen is warm enough, get away with about 3h of rest. But I always find that doesn’t take full advantage of the sourdough benefits, so I rest 2h outside the fridge, perform (if I remember) a few stretch and folds and then let it rest, covered, in the fridge overnight.
That way the work is split up to 2 days and I can fry my donuts the next day whenever I want.

Stretch and Fold Technique

The stretch and fold technique is essentially sliding your oiled hands under the dough, lifting it up, so it stretches, then folding it in on itself. You do that 3 -4 times for each stretch and fold. About every 30 minutes within the first 2h of your dough resting.
You should feel your dough become more elastic and bouncy each time, which will help it keep it’s shape later and make it more workable.
I have occasionally forgotten (or was too busy) and it still turned out ok. But it does help with air retention and shape.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd_ Process

Shaping Your Donuts

If you let your dough rest overnight, take it out 2h before you want fry it, to come to room temperature and for its final rest.

Flour a surface for rolling out the dough. I’ve used a silicone baking mat for this. Take your dough out of it’s bowl. It will still be relatively soft but hold its shape. If it’s too runny, knead in a little more flour.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd_ Process

Why Add Flour now, not while kneading the dough?

You are probably wondering why I would do that only at this stage. I found that I often underestimated a doughs ability to soak up fluid while resting and some ended up being too dry, as I added flour too early. So while I have a relatively good judgement when it comes to adding flour while kneading at this point, I still tend to leave dough rather on the slightly softer than dryer side, as that yields more consistent results in the correct hydration after resting.

But many factors play a role, including humidity in the air, what flour you used, temperature while resting and many more. Which means sometimes I have to add just a little more flour in the end.

Rolling Out the Dough

Sprinkle your ball of dough with a little more flour. Get your rolling pin and a piece of baking parchment. Cover the dough with the parchment. This will keep it from sticking to your rolling pin, which is super practical for soft doughs like this.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd_ Process

Roll out your dough until it’s about ½“ thick and relatively even. This doesn’t have to be perfect. Homemade donuts are supposed to look home made.

 

Cutting out Donuts

These are plain round donuts, as I wanted to fill them. If you don’t, you could cut out the middle with a tiny cookie cutter.

Get a 2” round cookie cutter or a thin-rimmed drinking glass as I did, since I had no cookie cutter.
Add a bit of flour in one corner of your workspace and dip the rim of your cookie cutter or glass into it.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd_ Process

Peel off the parchment. Start cutting out the donuts by pressing down and wiggling a little, to release the dough. Dip the cutter into flour in between when you feel it starts to stick. Continue until no space is left. Lift up the “leftover” dough around the donut shapes, so you can easily pick them up with your hands or a spatula.

Arrange them on a parchment lined baking sheet with a little space between them for their last rise.

Briefly knead the leftover dough, so it comes back together and roll out using the same process as above. Continue cutting out donuts. Repeat until no dough is left. The will likely be a little ball of dough left at the end. I tend to use that for oil and taste testing.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd_ Process

Cover the sheet with clingfilm and let the donuts rest for another 45 minutes while you heat the oil for frying and get the cinnamon sugar ready.

Heating Your Oil

In a large heavy bottomed pot or cast iron pot, add your frying oil until it comes up about 2-3” on the sides. Personally I have it about 2/3 up the sides of my large cast iron pot, so it doesn’t bubble over, but leaves enough room for the donuts to rise.

Heat your oil to 350°F/175°C. Ideally use an instant read thermometer. If you don’t have one, either dunk the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil. If you see little bubbles forming on it and rising up, your oil is hot.

One important note: Do not let your oil get too hot, or your Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts will get dark on the outside too fast while remaining raw on the inside. Hence, best checked with a thermometer.

Cinnamon Sugar and Plum Curd

While your oil is heating up, prepare your Cinnamon sugar for rolling.
To a large plate, add about 4 tbsp sugar (Caster or white is best here, but brown will work in a pinch. Just make sure the crystals are not too big, or they won’t stick) and 1-2 tsp cinnamon. Depending on how strong you like your cinnamon flavour.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd_ Process

Get a wooden spoon with round handle, ideally with a slightly pointy tip and a piping bag with a long, thin nozzle. Alternatively use a freezer bag. Fill the piping bag with about 1 cup (if filling all donuts) of Spiced Plum Curd while standing it in a high mug, so it won’t drip everywhere.
I have one with a really practical stand and clip to close the end that you see in the pictures.
If using a freezer bag, don’t cut the tip off quite yet, but wait for the donuts to be ready.

Frying your Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts

Once your oil is hot, take the clingfilm off your donuts, which should have risen further by now, up to double their size.

Use one as your test donut. Add it gently to the oil, cook for about 45 second each side or until deep golden brown.

Take it out when you think it looks ready and break it open. Check if it’s cooked all the way through and fluffy inside. If it’s too dark and not cooked, your oil is too hot or too light and took much longer than 45 seconds, your oil is too cold.

Once it’s perfectly cooked, dunk into the cinnamon sugar and enjoy your first bite. Careful, hot!

Once you have your oil at the right temperature, gently slide 4-5 into your hot oil, monitoring the temperature and adjusting your hob accordingly, so it stays around 350°F/175°C. It may cool down a bit when you add the donuts. Heat it back up. It’s a little bit of adjusting while frying.

Cook your donuts for about 45 seconds per side or until deep golden brown. They will rise to the top after a short moment but won’t be done yet. Turn with a slotted spoon and let the other side cook.

Once deep golden brown and puffed up, using a slotted spoon, take them out onto a paper towel lined plate, then quickly, before they dry too much, roll in your cinnamon sugar. Put back on a parchment lined tray. If you want to keep them warm while frying the rest, set your oven to the lowest temperature and keep them in there until all are fried.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd

If you decided to go without filling, enjoy!

Filling with Spiced Plum Curd

For filling the donuts, take them and stick them with the pointy end. I mean…poke a hole into it about halfway through with the round wooden spoon handle. Or anything similar that you can find and that is food safe.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd_ Process

Grab your piping back, twisting the top end closed. If using a freezer bag, twist the upper edge closed, squeeze all the filling into one corner, then snip off a small bit of that corner with scissors.

Poke either your piping back nozzle or freezer bag edge into the hole and gently squeeze the plum curd into the donut until it reaches the top. Stand your donut relatively upright onto the tray, the filled side pointing up, in case the heat melts the plum curd a little bit.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd_ Process
I found it keeps pretty well, as by the time you have rolled your donuts in sugar and fried them all, they are cool enough to not liquify the curd.

If you kept them in the oven, you might want to let them cool a little bit, until easy to handle with bare hands.

When all are done, admire the fabulous donuts you just made and enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea. Or hot mulled cider.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd

Meal Prep and Storing

The nature of the sourdough fermentation makes these fantastic to prepare and just fry on the day. You could even prepare them up to being cut out, so on the day, you just fry them and roll in cinnamon sugar.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts are best eaten fresh and warm. But I froze a fair few, and found they are really good reheated in the oven or air fryer for a few minutes. You may want to let them come to room temperature first, as you don’t want to heat them too much, if you used plum curd. But even with it, they can easily take about 7min air fryer at 350°F/175°C, to get crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, without melting the curd.

Got curious and want to try a sourdough bread recipe? How about my German Sourdough Rye Beer Dutch Oven Bread?

Or maybe Sourdough Focaccia with Black Tahini and Whole Wheat?

Now I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Have you tried this? Did you enjoy it?
What other recipes would you like to see?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share. It helps me a lot.

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd

Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Plum Curd are a real fall treat and have lots of flavour in the dough from the inclusion of sourdough, which makes every baked good just so much better. Apple Butter and boiled down cider add real apple taste and the creamy plum curd inside will have you licking your fingers and looking for more.
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting time 10 hours
Total Time 11 hours 15 minutes
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 14 Donuts
Calories 250 kcal

Equipment

  • Piping bag or freezer bag for filling, rolling pin

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups cider -- boiled down to ½ cup
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • ½ cup apple butter
  • 1/3 cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sourdough starter
  • ½ cup protein powder
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups fine whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 4 pints sunflower or vegetable oil for frying
  • Cinnamon sugar for assembling
  • 1 cup Spiced Plum Curd for filling. Optional

Instructions
 

Day 1:

  • Sourdough Feeding
  • Two days before making the donuts, feed your sourdough starter to have at least ½ cup of active starter. Follow my sourdough starter's guidelines for feeding if unsure.

Day 2:

    Cider and Yeast

    • Start by boiling 2 cups of apple cider down to ½ cup. Allow it to cool until lukewarm.
    • In a bowl, combine the lukewarm apple cider and active dry yeast. Allow it to bubble up for about 10 minutes. If it doesn't bubble, your yeast may not be active anymore.

    Preparation

    • Pre-mix the protein powder with the liquid ingredients (eggs, sourdough starter, vanilla extract, Greek yogurt, and salt) to create a smooth mixture. You can use a blender or whisk by hand.

    Making the Dough

    • In a stand mixer or a large bowl, combine flour, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, melted and cooled butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and the protein-egg mix.
    • Mix with a spoon until you have a rough mixture, then knead using a stand mixer or by hand until you have a smooth, elastic dough that sticks to the bottom of the bowl but comes away from the sides. Adjust with more flour if it's too soft or a bit of milk or water if it's too dry.
    • Perform the windowpane test to check if the gluten is properly activated.
    • Grease a bowl with oil, form the dough into a ball, and place it in the greased bowl. Cover and let it rest.

    Resting and Stretching

    • Let the dough rest and ferment for about 2 hours at room temperature. Optionally, perform a few stretch and folds every 30 minutes within the first 2 hours.
    • After the initial rest, place the dough in the refrigerator to rest overnight.

    Day 3:

      Shaping the Donuts

      • Two hours before frying the donuts, take the dough out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature.
      • Flour a work surface, take the dough out of the bowl, and add more flour if necessary to prevent sticking.
      • Roll out the dough to a thickness of about ½ inch.
      • Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter or a glass to cut out the donuts. Place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet with space in between.
      • Combine and roll out the leftover dough, cutting out more donuts until all the dough is used.
      • Cover the donuts with plastic wrap and let them rest for 45 minutes while you heat the frying oil.

      Heating the Oil

      • In a large, heavy-bottomed pot or cast-iron pot, add enough oil (2-3 inches) for frying. Heat the oil to 350°F (175°C) using a thermometer or by observing the bubbles on a wooden spoon handle.
      • Preparing Cinnamon Sugar and Plum Curd
      • Mix sugar and cinnamon on a large plate for rolling the donuts.
      • If using Spiced Plum Curd, fill a piping bag with a long, thin nozzle or use a freezer bag. Fill the bag with the curd.

      Frying the Donuts

      • Take one donut as a test. Fry it for about 45 seconds on each side until it turns deep golden brown. Ensure it's cooked all the way through and fluffy inside.
      • Adjust the oil temperature if necessary. It's important not to let the oil get too hot.
      • Once you've reached the right temperature, fry 4-5 donuts at a time, flipping them until they are deep golden brown and puffed up.
      • Remove the donuts with a slotted spoon and roll them in the cinnamon sugar while still hot. Place them on a parchment-lined tray.
      • Keep the fried donuts warm in the oven at the lowest temperature while you fry the rest.

      Optional Filling with Spiced Plum Curd

      • For filling, poke a hole in each donut about halfway through using a round wooden spoon handle or a food-safe tool.
      • Use the piping bag with Spiced Plum Curd to fill the donuts until they are filled to the top.
      • Place the filled donuts upright on the tray, filled side up.
      • Enjoy your delicious Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd!

      Notes

      Meal Prep and Storing
      The nature of the sourdough fermentation makes these fantastic to prepare and just fry on the day. You could even prepare them up to being cut out, so on the day, you just fry them and roll in cinnamon sugar.
      Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts are best eaten fresh and warm. But I froze a fair few, and found they are really good reheated in the oven or air fryer for a few minutes. You may want to let them come to room temperature first, as you don’t want to heat them too much, if you used plum curd. But even with it, they can easily take about 7min air fryer at 350°F/175°C, to get crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside, without melting the curd.
      Makes 14
      Nutritional information without Plum Curd:
      Calories: About 245-255 calories
      Protein: About 8-9 grams
      Fat: About 6-7 grams
      Carbohydrates: About 41-43 grams
      Fiber: About 1-2 grams
      Sugars: About 11-12 grams
      Spiced Plum Curd per tbsp (roughly the amount that goes into 1 donut)
      Calories: About 47-49 calories
      Protein: About 0.4-0.5 grams
      Fat: About 2-2.5 grams
      Carbohydrates: About 6-7 grams
      Fiber: About 0.3-0.4 grams
      Sugars: About 5-6 grams

      Nutrition

      Calories: 250kcal
      Nutrition Facts
      Sourdough Apple Cider Donuts with Spiced Plum Curd
      Amount per Serving
      Calories
      250
      % Daily Value*
      * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
      Keyword Protein, sourdough
      Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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