Back in September, Luke and I drove down to Worcester to go apple picking at Clive’s Fruit Farm. I mentioned in my 2018 Autumn Bucket List that I wanted to go apple picking this year because, while I’ve visited apple orchards in the past (Ya Ya Farm & Orchard is one of my favourites in Colorado and has the BEST apple cider donuts), I’ve never made it in time to actually pick apples since ideal apple-picking time is September.
We lucked out with the day we chose. It was cloudy, but not raining. There was a nip in the air, but it wasn’t chilly. It was also incredibly quiet as we wandered around the orchard. It was absolutely perfect.
They provided a bucket for us to collect the fruit in, which came in handy but wasn’t exactly Instagrammable. ;) We paused for a moment to look at the pigs, but the stench became a bit unbearable so we headed out for the orchard.
Different kinds of apple trees lined the hillside with a smaller pear orchard right below. In some of the aisles, it felt so small, but in other rows, you could see the whole orchard and the surrounding farms and it was so big and open. It was amazing. We quickly filled up our bucket with a few different varieties of apples.
Personally, I found the pear trees the most beautiful. Between the fruit and the leaves, they were absolutely gorgeous. Luke said he wasn’t the biggest fan of pears, but I dreamed of making poached pears, so we only got half a dozen.
We ended up with p o u n d s of fruit and it only cost £7! Since we were headed to Italy just a week later, we had to use all the apples—and pears—quickly. That called for a large batch of apple cider before we left, some of which we turned into apple cider donuts. I also made a couple apple crisps for us and for some friends.
Apple Cider Donuts are one of the best fall treats, in my opinion, but it’s highly unlikely you’d find any on this side of the pond, so we had to make our own. I’d love to get a donut pan so I can make baked donuts instead, but in the meantime, here’s the recipe we used, from Damn Delicious:
3 cups apple cider
1 cup granulated sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups vegetable oil
Heat apple cider in a large saucepan over medium high heat until reduced to 1 cup, about 15-20 minutes; place into the refrigerator until completely cool, about 30 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon.
In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together butter, eggs and apple cider.
Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist; cover and place into the refrigerator until chilled, about 1 hour. Divide dough in half.
Working on a lightly floured surface, roll dough into 1/2-inch thick rounds; cut out rounds with a 2 1/2-inch cutter.
Heat vegetable oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F.
Working in batches, add donuts to the Dutch oven and cook until evenly golden and crispy, 1 minute per side. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate for 30 seconds; then roll warm donuts in cinnamon sugar mixture to coat.