Take a sweet bite of the holiday season with flaky pumpkin-spiced cream puffs filled with an apple-cranberry compote and whipped cream.
For apple-cranberry compote:
3 Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and diced
6 ounces fresh cranberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 slice fresh orange peel
1 orange, juiced
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 pinch kosher salt
For cream puff donuts:
1 cup water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
For whipped cream:
2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
Powdered sugar, for dusting
To make the compote: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add all of the ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer to cook for 20 minutes until the apples and cranberries are broken down. Remove from heat to cool completely. Discard the orange peel. Refrigerate compote until ready to use.
To make the donuts: Place oven rack in the center, and preheat oven 375 degrees.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add 1 cup of water, the butter, sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk to combine. Using a wooden spoon, briskly stir the flour into the liquid until a dough forms. Continue to stir the dough for 1 to 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and transfer the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the dough on low-medium speed. Then add 1 egg at a time, mixing until incorporated and increasing the speed with each addition until the dough is sticky and glossy. Pour the dough into a large (18-inch) piping bag fitted with a small star tip.
Pipe the dough into the mini donut pans, filling only halfway (the cream puffs will rise while baking). Place onto a baking sheet to keep the pans level in the oven, and bake on the center rack for 30 to 35 minutes until puffed, crusty on the outside and lightly golden brown. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Bake the remaining dough.
To make the whipped cream: Pour the whipping cream into a large mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer fitted with beaters, whisk the cream to soft peaks. Add the powdered sugar and beat to stiff peaks.
To assemble the cream puff donuts: Cut each donut in half crosswise. Put 1 tablespoon of compote on the bottom half. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, then finish with the donut top.
To serve, dust the donuts with powdered sugar.
Best served fresh, but leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.