31 March 2012

Almost healthy yeast-free apple doughnuts

I've fought making doughnuts. I'm not really sure why - probably it was the idea of deep-frying. Not the fat - I don't mind a bit of that. No - it was about the fuss, the mess, the chance of slopping oil all over my clothes, or worse, scalding my hands. Or my children's hands.

So I waited until everyone was preoccupied, and I crept out to the kitchen to conquer my fear while nobody was watching. I wanted to do it quickly, so I used self-raising flour instead of a yeast-based dough. I apologise for the complete lack of measurements*. This is a recipe that is best done by feel.

  • apple - peeled and loosely diced
  • milk (I used almond milk)
  • softened butter (I used dairy-free ghee)
  • egg
  • self raising flour (I used gluten free)
  • pinch salt
  • oil for frying (I used grapeseed)
  • sugar and cinnamon for dusting
  1. Put the oil in a deep, preferably non-stick frypan and heat on the stove. Put the apple and enough milk to cover the blades in the blender and puree. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Whisk up the egg and butter until creamy, then add in the wet mix and sifted flour alternating, whisking until it gets too thick, then using your hands and finishing with the flour. The consistency should be a soft, silky dough, just solid enough to roll.
  3. Take pieces of the dough and roll into finger-thickness sausages, then pinch together into circles, and place in the oil, turning once browned on one side, then tossing through the sugar mix once cooked, finally set aside onto a plate.
I did not measure the temperature of the oil, but started with it on full heat, then turned it down as just as it started to smoke. I had to turn it up again a little halfway through. The doughnuts should take about a minute on each side - if they take much more they will be greasy, and much less and they will be raw on the inside. If you would like to make them thicker, I would suggest turning on the oven to 160°C and after frying, letting them cook through for about another 15 minutes or so.

*I used 1 apple, 1 egg, about 100ml of each milk and ghee, about 2 cups of flour, 1/2 a cup of brown sugar and a cup of oil (of which most was left in the pan). Actually no fattier or more sugary than cakes or muffins. This could easily be made without the apples, or replaced with another fruit like banana or blueberries. This mix made about 40 small doughnuts - way too many, so we had some left over the next day. They went hard in the fridge overnight, but softened up nicely with a few seconds in the microwave.

PS - just made these a second time and added salt to the sugar dusting - sooooo much better!


  1. I've put off making doughnuts because of frying. Wonder it'll turn out this good if I bake them..

    1. could work - let me know! But gotta say, I don't think you'd get the super-crisp outside and soft innards. You might have to add more butter to the mix...

  2. love the colors, the lighting, the pictures as a whole! soo warm, its my personal preference ( earthy colors that is)
    2 questions sarah:
    - the distressed wood: did you do it yourself... it looks real pretty has a character of its own.
    - second... this cant be outdoor light? or is it? or maybe by a window? or maybe a lighting setup? pretty quizzical light setup (looks cozy, but not dimly lit; clear, not not bright either)

    thanks sarah


    1. ha ha - I'm such a cheat. Daiso garden section - bought in planks ready to go. Window light - SE facing at 4pm, taken underexposed with halogen WB setting and a little tweaking in post.

  3. gorgeous photographs and a great recipe!

  4. oh yum..apples in doughnuts!
    lovely photos.

  5. Sarah, lovely post! What brand of dairy-free ghee did you use and where did you find it here? Would love to know, please. The smell of normal ghee makes me nauseous.

    1. Thanks! I use Aseel. I get it at Choithrams, but think it's pretty common. It's the only one I find really replaces butter well.

    2. We use Pure Indian Foods Ghee or Purity Farms Ghee. They are both casein/lactose free and are from grass-fed cows raised organically. Great stuff!

  6. Sarah, these doughnuts sound delicious and look mouthwatering! Thanks for the recipe. Your photos are gorgeous :)


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