For the apple doughnut
- 120ml milk, warmed
- 25g caster sugar
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for kneading
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 50g butter
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- 50g sweetened dried apple pieces, chopped small
For the meringue buttercream
- 1 egg white
- 80g caster sugar
- 120g unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste
- 4 tbsp dulce de leche
For the toffee coating
- 200g caster sugar
- 100ml water
- ½ tsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 2-3 drops PME Pink Food Colouring
- Grease the apple tin with Cake Release or a little butter.
- For the doughnut, combine the warm milk, caster sugar and yeast in a jug and leave to stand for 5 minutes until a foam forms on top.
- Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the salt and cinnamon, then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre of the flour, pour in the yeast mixture with the egg, and mix with a round-bladed knife until a smooth dough is formed.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough no longer feels sticky. Return to a clean bowl, cover with a damp cloth or oiled cling film and prove in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, sprinkle over the dried apple and knead until evenly incorporated into the dough. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and place in the apple tin. Set aside in a warm place to prove for 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
- Place the tin on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until golden on top and well risen. Allow to cool slightly in the tin then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, make the meringue buttercream. Place the egg white and sugar in a clean mixing bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Lightly whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved, and continue whisking until the meringue is glossy and white. Remove the bowl from the heat and keep whisking until the mixture is cool then gradually add the softened butter, whisking thoroughly before adding more. Finally whisk in the vanilla paste.
- Spread a layer of meringue buttercream over the base of one doughnut and top with the dulce de leche, then place the second doughnut on top to create an apple shape. Place onto a wire rack with baking parchment underneath.
- To make the toffee coating, put the caster sugar in a small pan with 100ml water, and heat gently for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the vinegar, golden syrup and 2-3 drops of pink food colouring. Place a sugar thermometer in the pan and boil to 150°C or the hard crack’ stage. Pour the toffee over the doughnut and leave to cool before transferring to a serving plate.
Tip: if you do not have a thermometer, test the toffee by pouring a little into a bowl of cold water it should harden instantly.