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Boiled Cider-Buttermilk Doughnut Holes #FoodNFlix

This month, for Food'N'Flix, Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting. She asked us to watch Knives Out* and you can read her invitation here.

On the Screen
Filled with a solid line-up of Hollywood heavyweights, this clever whodunit harkens back to the days of Agatha Christie. You have Harlan Thrombey, played by Christopher Plummer; Linda Drysdale, played by Jamie Lee Curtis; Ransom Drysdale, played by Chris Evans; Benoit Blanc, played by Daniel Craig; Marta Cabrera, played by Ana de Armas; and more!

Harlan Thrombey's family is at his estate to celebrate his 85th birthday. The following morning, his housekeeper finds him dead, with his throat slit. The police declare it a suicide, but Blanc is hired to investigate and determine what actually happened.

Throughout the course of the interviews and investigation, Blanc learns that Harlan's relationships with his family were strained. And nearly everyone had a motive! On the day of his death he had threatened to expose Richard Drysdale's infidelity as he has surveillance photos of Richard kissing someone who is not Linda, Harlan's daughter; he had cut off financial support of his daughter-in-law Joni because she has been double-dipping, getting money wired directly to the college for Meg's tuition and getting a check for the tuition mailed to her; he had fired his son, Walt, from leading the family's publishing company; and he had a verbal altercation with his grandson Ransom.

After the party, Harlan's nurse Marta Cabrera mixed up his medications and apparently administered a fatal dose of morphine. When she can't find the antidote, Harlan deftly gives her instructions on how to create a false alibi. She does so but, as Blanc explains, has "a regurgitative reaction to mistruthing." In other words: when she lies, she throws up.

Those are the initial components to this fun little whodunit. Then Harlan's will is read and he has left everything to Marta. Everything. The estate, the publishing company, and money. A lot of money. So, there's more family feuding, blackmail, and murder added to the plot. 

That's all I'm going to say about the movie. If you haven't seen it, you should. It's a fun way to spend a couple of hours and it kept me guessing till the end.

On the Plate

This isn't a foodie movie per se, but there is enough food in the movie to inspire some dishes. I considered the bowl of beans that Ransom orders for Marta when he whisks her away from the estate just after the will reading. I thought about milk and cookies that Ransom asks for when he arrives at the will reading. Before Fran discovers Harlan's body, we see her loading up a breakfast tray with croissants and coffee. So, I toyed with the idea of making another version of my Pain au Chocolat.

But, in the end, I was inspired by Blanc's doughnut speech: "I spoke in the car about the hole at the center of this doughnut . And yes, what you and Harlan did that fateful night seems at first glance to fill that hole perfectly. A doughnut hole in the doughnut's hole. But we must look a little closer. And when we do, we see that the doughnut hole has a hole in its center. It is not a doughnut hole at all, but a smaller doughnut with its own hole. And our doughnut is not whole at all!" 

Doughnut holes it was! These are a cake doughnut versus a yeasted doughnut and I opted to make them using my Æbleskiver pan that I bought to make Mormor Agnes' Æbleskiver. I hate having unitaskers in my kitchen. So, another way to use this specialty pan was very welcome.

my mother-in-law in the orchard

And because I had come home with two gallons of pressed cider from my in-laws' orchard, I decided to make boiled cider doughnut holes. You can read how to make it here. Its texture is somewhere between maple syrup and caramel and it tastes like Fall!

Ingredients makes approximately two dozen doughnut holes

  • 1/2 cup boiled cider (how to make boiled cider)
  • 1 egg 
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk 
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla paste (you can use extract if you don't have paste) 
  • 2 cups flour 
  • 3/4 cup organic light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom 
  • Also needed: Æbleskiver pan,* skewers for turning, medium scoop


Pour the boiled cider into a mixing bowl then add egg, buttermilk, melted butter, and vanilla paste. Whisk until everything is well-combined.
In a separate large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices.
Pour the cider mixture into the dry ingredients and fold together with a wooden spoon or spatula until everything is moistened.
Heat the pan until it is more than warm to the touch. Melt a little butter in each hollow.

Scoop batter into each hollow till just below the edge. It will puff up a little bit as it cooks. 

After a few minutes, turn the doughnut holes a quarter of a round.

And after another minute, turn the last bit, completely the round. Make sure that it is properly baked on the inside by piercing one with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, it's done!

I served these on a bed of cinnamon sugar.

That's my offering for Knives Out and the November Food'N'Flix event. You still have plenty of time to join the fun if you wish.

*This blog currently has a partnership with in their affiliate program, which gives me a small percentage of sales if you buy a product through a link on my blog. It doesn't cost you anything more. If you are uncomfortable with this, feel free to go directly to and search for the item of your choice.


  1. I love the inspiration that you found in that little speech. I didn't catch that at all. I didn't know Jake's folks owned an orchard!! You have as many surprises today as the movie. LOL

    1. Thanks for hosting, Wendy. I really enjoyed this movie.

  2. Ha! Wendy just pointed me this way. I was inspired by the two donut speeches as well. I tried to make apple molasses once (for FnF and CTB) with not-so-great results. (Is it the same thing? I wonder...) I would happily try it again to make these donuts. :)

    1. I don't know if they are the same thing. Sounds as if it might be. Just boil, boil, boil till the cider is reduced?! I think you could easily substitute a mixture of apple juice and maple syrup. I might have to try that, too.

  3. Perfect! I love the inspiration behind these...and I bet they are far too easy to pop into your mouth.

  4. The doughnut holes look absolutely perfect and delicious. Loved the idea of usinf cider in it.

  5. These look absolutely amazing! And I love that you were able to think of a creative use for that pan!


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