A classic East Coast treat is having a moment in Houston. Cider doughnuts, the New England fall favorite, have popped up on the menu of three local establishments.
Rosie Cannonball features its cider doughnut holes at The Chalet, its fall/winter update to the Spritz Patio. Executive pastry chef Shawn Gawle channeled his East Coast roots to create the treat.
“Growing up in New England, fall meant going apple picking at the orchards,” he says. “Almost every apple orchard would make their own cider and cider doughnuts, often right in front of you. The smell of them just reminds me of home.”
In that spirit, Gawle uses Martinelli’s apple cider for his recipe. “It’s 4th generation family-owned. And it’s just good!,” he adds.
For its take, City Orchard partnered with Heights doughnut shop Hugs & Donuts. The recipe uses the cidery’s Young Cider, which uses apple juice that’s only been fermenting for a week. They’re available every Saturday and Sunday through the end of November as part of the cidery’s harvest festival (or at Hugs & Donuts everyday its open).
“Like the Viennese tradition of Stürm wine (stormy wine) - young cider is still working its way to a grown-up cider,” City Orchard stated in a release. “It's still sweet, very appley, and light on alcohol.”
Adair Kitchen co-owner Katie Adair Barnhart tells CultureMap she sees the doughnuts as an alternative to all the pumpkin goods circulating during the fall. The secret, she says, is to reduce the cider prior to adding it to the batter — dusting them with a little cinnamon sugar helps, too.
“The donuts are a little bit of a joke with our team,” Barnhart explains in an email. “Kate Stukenberg, or guru on all things on trendy, was really aware of the East Coast trend and really went to bat to get them on the Adair Kitchen menu . . . She was right and they have sold really well!’