Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Moist and Crispy Gluten-free Apple Fritters and French Cruellers!

As I mentioned in my previous post on chocolate cake donuts, Jason adores donuts. I am surprised we didn't have a wedding donut instead of a wedding cake. It probably would have been better than our wedding cake, but that is another story.
Since Aaron has only watched the donut feast from afar, I set out to make some gluten free donuts. Imagine my joy in seeing the Daring Baker's Challenge for October - Donuts.  And I had just made a set of gluten-free apple fritters that were mighty tasty indeed. Moist, apple filled and slightly crispy. But to top it off we had also played with pate choux based donuts - yes the French Crueller.

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurious.

So here are the results of our experiments. Aaron enjoyed the apple fritters enough to ask that we keep those as his birthday party treats instead of a stash of cupcakes. No paternity test needed here. And as for the cruellers - light, fluffy, a bit eggy, not too sweet. Mmmmm....


Gluten-free Apple Fritters
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 ounces shortening
  • 2 ¼ t yeast
  • 2/3 cup apple juice, room temperature
  • ¼ cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 T sugar
  • 1 t vanilla
  • ¾ t salt
  • 11 ½ ounces gluten-free flour*
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • Shortening or oil for frying


  • 1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
    1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    2 T pure maple syrup (more if necessary)
  • 2 T milk
  • Maple extract (optional)

* (3.5 ounces rice flour, 3 ounces sweet rice flour, 1 ¾ ounces tapioca flour, 1 ounce sorghum or millet, 1.5 ounces potato, 1 ounce cornstarch)

  1. Heat milk to boiling and pour over shortening to melt it slightly, set aside to cool. 
  2. Dissolve yeast in apple juice. 
  3. Mix flour and cinnamon and then toss with apples
  4. Mix buttermilk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt well. Add yeast and milk/shortening mixture. 
  5. Pour liquid over flour and knead well. You can do this in a stand mixture, or as I did with my hands. The dough should be rather wet.
  6. Gather dough into a ball in a bowl and cover loosely with a damp towel. Allow to rise in a warm area of the room for 45 -60 minutes.  
  7. Take a quarter cup of dough, and pat into a disk  Since the dough is so wet, I found it easiest to place on a square of parchment, so you can lift it to place in the oil. Allow to rest for 20 minutes while you heat the oil.
  8. Heat oil to 365 degrees in a deep pan. The oil should be at least 2 inches deep.
  9. Place dough into oil 2-3 at a time. 
  10. Fry until deep golden brown. 
  11. Allow the oil to come back up to temperature before adding any more dough. 
  12. Drain on a rack.
  13. To make glaze mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Adjust liquids as necessary to get the consistency you want. 
  14. Pour glaze over donuts. 

Gluten Free French Cruellers or Zeppole

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ cups water or milk
  • ½ cup tapioca flour
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ¾ t guar or xanthan gum
  • 6 eggs

  1. Mix flours together with gum and set aside. Crack eggs into bowl – don’t whisk. Mix butter, salt, water/milk in sauce pan. Bring to boil, reduce heat to medium and put flour in all at once and stir vigorously as it forms a ball, keep cooking and stirring until the ball starts to coat the bottom of the pan. You are now drying out the dough – the drier the better, so keep going until it starts sticking too much to the pan.
  2.  Put dough ball into a stand mixer – and turn on medium for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then add in the eggs one at a time – make sure they are fully incorporated and the dough is smooth before adding another one. Before adding the last 2 eggs, check the consistency of the dough – you want it like a very thick cake batter – such that if you stuck your finger in it, it would form a peak that bends over. Stop adding eggs when it gets to this point – you want to add as many eggs as possible without the dough getting too loose. This is a pate choux dough – you can play with it, add sugar to make it sweet, spices, etc. I made gingerbread doughnuts, so I added molasses, ginger, cinnamon and extra salt.
  3.  Heat 2 inches of canola, grapeseed, or soy oil to 375 degrees. Drop in the dough by teaspoonfuls into batter. They will expand a lot so don’t crowd. They will expand in stages. Fry until it is a nice golden brown – drain on a cooling rack over a towel and toss in cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, or whatever you want (for gingerbread I used cocoa powder, brown sugar, cloves, allspice, ginger, cinnamon and salt). The trick is to make sure your oil stays around 375 – too low you get greasy doughnuts, too high you get uncooked centers.


  1. Wow, two varieties! I too made apple fritters but mine were not gluten free. It's nice to know there is a gluten free version out there. Nice job on the challenge!

  2. Great job. they look absolutely delish.