A while back, when complaining of rainy, dark and never ending November, I’ve plotted that when December comes, I’ll be able to ramble about the whites around, times spent marvelling at the world outside and almost pleasant frost.
No matter what time of the year it would be, that’s the way I see December, with snowflakes, Christmas lights and the calm feeling of waiting.
Reality is of course as ever far away from visions, recent year Decembers have been shrinking from weeks to days, to passing in the blink of an eye, and this year it has swept in with violent gooses of wind and showers of ice and well, I am still waiting fairy tale sights.
But as it is here, I take the turning of the calendar page as a green light for bringing jolly mood into the house, reeking out the Christmas tree, dusting off the lights and well, endless watching of the cosy and old Christmas movies. I swear every time I take the tree out, the ten year old in me awakes and starts jumping around right until it’s time, with soring heart, to pack everything up, and wait for next merry season to come.
If I were a ten years old I would have gotten sweets and sugary drinks while I transformed the house into a sparkling site, but I have grown up a little since then. Perhaps not much in behaviour department but rather in taste for drinks.
Soft drinks ain’t my cup of tea anymore, instead it’s pure bliss to cosy up with cup of steaming cider while signs coming holidays creep upon the four corners. And so the madness begins.
To kick off the Christmas season, along with mulled cider I’ve got around to making a treat from my century old treasure box. It may not be particularly fancy, but it’s a doughnut with a vintage French twist and one I’ve been yearning to make for a while.
In the true vintage book fashion this one leaves a lot for interpretation, but the idea of soaking the apples before frying in aromatic boozy liquid is quite brilliant. The original recipe called for using l’eau de vie (English: brandy) but when a recipe calls for stronger alcohol, my heart always leans for Grand Marnier (they’re not paying me for promotion, I swear).
What comes at the end of this long but effortless process are puffy on the outside doughnuts with apple cream inside. The marinade softens up apples so they do become a bit trickier to handle (and for the sake of simplicity, they could just be each cut into 8 pieces and prepared according to recipe), but once fried they sort of melt inside, creating a surprising filling for otherwise ordinary looking doughnuts. Orange blossom water is the critical ingredient here giving aromatic punch, but if it’s not available, rose water or using plenty of orange zest would work too.
Just give them a chance and try.
Happy coming weekend and stay warm!
- 4 cups cider
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 orange, sliced
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 vanilla pod, halved
- Place all the ingredients in a pot and bring to boil.
- Reduce to simmer and continue to cook for another 7-10 minutes and serve.
- It can also be prepared in advance and reheated.
- 1 cup + 1 tablespoon/ 180g flour
- 1 tablespoon dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ cup milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 gala apples
- 5 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- 1 ½ tablespoon light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3-4 cups sunflower or canola oil for frying
- For the dough, heat the water and milk till luke warm.
- Mix all the dry ingredients making a well in the centre then stir in water, milk and vanilla extract. Continue stirring till everything is well combined.
- Place the dough in a warm place, cover with a towel and allow proofing for about 1 – 1 ½ hour, till double in size.
- While the dough is proofing, prepare the apple, combine all the ingredients for the marinade.
- Peel, core and slice each apple into appr. 5 slices. Place in a zip lock bag, pour the marinade over and allow all the flavours to infuse for about an hour.
- For the cinnamon sugar mix together sugar and cinnamon, set aside.
- Once everything is ready, heat the oil in a large pan.
- Give the dough a good stir, then pat the apple slices dry, carefully dip them one by one into dough. Using a fork, shake the excess dough of the slice and into the hot oil.
- Fry till golden on both sides, depending on the size of your pan, you should be able to fry 4-5 a time.
- Once fried quickly place them onto a paper towel to absorb excess oil, them transfer onto a serving plate and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.
- Serve immediately.