Monday, October 24, 2011

Cider donuts

photos, Diane Carnevale

Once a year when the leaves turn their day glow colors and the pumpkins show up at the markets we do something super indulgent—we buy some apple cider donuts from Russell Orchards in Ipswich (formerly Goodale Orchards). It's one of those incredibly guilty pleasures with absolutely no way to justify them, except to say that it's simply a decades-old tradition, and why break tradition, right? Plus I once read that a bagel with cream cheese has more than twice the calories and fat grams than a donut (click here for story), so there. I guess it's really a matter of being the lesser of two evils, and we only do this once a year for crying out loud. Back to traditions... The aroma of these unapologetically unctuous concoctions suck us in every time. They melt in your mouth and have capricious crispy bits when piping fresh and hot. Russell Orchard's motto is “Save the Planet: Eat Cider Donuts,” because they repurpose the oil used to make the donuts—turning it into bio-diesel fuel that powers their tractors. (Read the story in Edible Boston magazine.) All I know is that they taste good. We felt particularly guilty this year about indulging in this annual treat because as we were driving home, snarfing the donuts, we passed out neighbor Mark who was out for his morning jog, which was just wrong on so many levels! I wonder if he noticed we each had a half a donut in our hands as we waved to him. Well, at least it wasn't a bagel.

+ + + 

As if that wasn't all naughty enough, I decided to push a little further towards the "cliffs of insanity" by experimenting in the kitchen with these apple flavored morsels. I dissected a donut into 12 tiny medallions then topped each with 6 unusual combinations from ingredients I found in my fridge and pantry. (You have to know that I have all sorts of weird and exquisite ingredients on hand most of the time.) The natural choice would have been to pair these donuts with a nice maple syrup, but of course that seemed too obvious for me! Shown from left to right are:

rose water and cardamom spiced sugar glaze, pink rose petal
skillet bacon spread, sharp cheddar cheese, small dice of tomato 
caramel sauce, toasted pecan, purple borage blossom
apple, orange and Szechuan peppercorn confit
with orange nasturtium blossom
gorgonzola cheese, Russian buckwheat honey,
candied walnut, lavender radish blossom
melted brie and Italian Truffle honey

Some combinations succeeded more than others, 
but they were really all good.


  1. Bacon spread sounds delicious! How do you make it?

  2. Maggie,

    If you are ambitious you can make the bacon jam yourself. Martha Stewart has a good recipe for it called "slow-cooker-bacon-jam."

    Or you can buy a jar of "skillet bacon spread" on

  3. I remember those cider donuts from Russell Orchards when I was a kid! Delicious.


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