Pumpkin-Apple Donuts and Sleepy Hollow

I hate to miss any Food ‘n Flix feature movies and I absolutely hated that I was not able to participate last month when Heather was hosting Nina’s Heavenly Delight.   I could not find a copy to stream and I was pretty intent on just being inspired from the movie trailer but I ran out of time.

As with all of you, we’ve been practicing social distancing for the past few weeks so I had a bit more time to focus on March’s Food ‘n Flix challenge.   Kimberly at Coffee and Casseroles is hosting and she’s letting us choose whatever Tim Burton film fits our fancy.  You can read her announcement post here.

I love their style!

I scrolled through both Netflix and Amazon Prime to see what my choices were.  I landed on Sleepy Hollow (1999).   I had not seen this movie and it prompted me to think about the Washington Irving story.   Like most people of a certain age, I would guess that your first introduction to Ichabod Crane may have been the innocuous Disney version.   (However, I DO need to point out that I was NOT alive in 1949 and am  not of that “certain age”!!!!!!!)

When I was young, this cartoon fascinated me, along with Washington Iriving’s tale.   (Later, I would teach “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” in my 9th grade English classroom.)

Burton’s version is far from innocuous and takes some liberties with the tale.    Ichabod is not a school teacher but a forensic visionary.  He’s not a bumbling idiot yet Johnny Depp plays him well, balancing between a pompous intellectual and a scared city-slicker.   

I thought the rest of the casting for the film was spot-on.   Jeffery Jones (most revered as the principal from Ferris Bueller and Emperor Joesph from Amadeus) now plays the pompous reverend.  Add Christopher Walken as the demonic horseman and Christina Ricci as the “innocent” ingenue and you have the makings of a Burton classic.  

Maybe it’s because of the Washington Iriving tale, but when I visualize upstate New York, there’s always a lurking feel of the mysterious and dark.   Of course, Burton casts the landscape in lots of shadowy mystery as well.

I loved this film.   I could so see myself rationalizing the showing of Sleepy Hollow to my freshmen English class.  (I could rationalize film watching with the best of English teachers!)

There was not a lot of food in the film but this is what I picked up on:

  • Pumpkin (from the jack-o-lantern scarecrow in the corn field)
  • Sheep in the fields
  • Wine and spirits at the Van Tassel party
  • More pumpkins at the livery
  • Bread and apples on the Killian’s table
  • Katrina’s potion
  • Apple at Ichabod’s sick bed

Not a lot to work with, but I decided to persevere.  I finally ordered some donut pans and I have loved baking in them.  (Please check out Pam’s Sugar-Free Chocolate Cake Donuts who put me on my current baking trend.  They are utterly delicious!)

I would make pumpkin-apple donuts!

So, my foray into making cake donuts without a great recipe was, let’s say, interesting.   Actually, I did have a base recipe from the little flier that came with my pans, but it was like the manufacturer had cut and pasted one set of directions to the other.    I became a little concerned (after I had already mixed them up) that there was no egg here.   I did not want to waste ingredients, so I persevered.

Pumpkin-Apple Donuts


These combine the flavors of fall and might be good on a spooky horse ride in Sleepy Hollow.


  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 t. fine sea salt
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 c. pumpkin puree (I used frozen.)
  • 2 T. butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. apples, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Prepare donut pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flours, brown sugar, salt, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Add pumpkin puree, apples, butter and almond milk. Stir just until well mixed.
  4. Place batter in a piping bag (or a ziploc with a corner snipped off) and pipe into prepared donut pans, fill about 2/3 full.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes or until tops seem done. Remove from oven and let set in pan for 5 minutes.
  6. While donuts cool, whisk together 1/4 c. white sugar and the cinnamon. After five minutes, remove donuts from pan and coat with the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Yield: 8 donuts

Swap out the butter for coconut oil and you have a pretty decent vegan recipe.   As for the result:  They were not bad.   The Hubs thought they were better than I did.   I love the flavors and will add eggs to the recipe the next time I make them.

I hope you all are well and social distancing without too much angst.

It’s a good time to catch up on the upcoming Food ‘n Flix features:

April: The Biggest Little Farm hosted at A Day in the Life on the Farm

May: Midnight in Paris hosted at Eliot’s Eats

June: Romantics Anonymous hosted at Culinary Adventures with Camilla

18 comments to Pumpkin-Apple Donuts and Sleepy Hollow

  • I like Johnny Depp. These baked donuts look good for a movie night :-))

  • Mae

    Pam’s recipe did look good — I can see how you were tempted to try those baked donuts. At the moment, we are saving our flour for bread, but maybe I’ll bake something sweet eventually. I don’t want to buy more baking pans, though, so I’ll probably want to do something different from yours.

    be well! … mae at maefood.blogspot.com

  • I’m glad you joined in this month. Sleepy Hollow is one of my favourites and I’m glad you picked up on the apple theme.

  • I was so close to using Sleepy Hollow, as well…but the ingredient I really needed as the star wasn’t available in the market right now. But hey, another day. I love the inspiration behind your doughnuts, they sound tasty!

    • I am really trying to use what I have on hand as well. Maybe I will get the freezer cleaned out this spring by necessity.

  • I haven’t watched this version of Sleepy Hollow. Sounds like it might be a good way to spend an afternoon. I haven’t had much luck with my donut pan. I will keep trying though. Perhaps I will use your recipe, with egg, of course.

  • Great donuts and no frying. I like Tim Burton and this is a good choice, but yeah I associate more to the Disney movie like you.

  • I have never seen Sleepy Hollow. We are streaming Vikings as it is a series we both enjoy. And we have streamed a few movies. I shall have to get the kids Netflix login when we run out of things to watch. I think your doughnuts look great.

    • Thanks, Tandy. Dare I say it…but if you get Netflix, Tiger King is like a disaster you can’t look away from. 🙂 Totally addictive.

  • Liz

    Now I need to find and dust off my donut pan! Don’t think I’ve used it since 2010, LOL.

    • I hope this new purchase doesn’t turn into one of those kitchen gadgets. I have used it twice already, so there’s that!

  • through the years I have read and watched a lot of Sleepy Hollows and especially enjoying the series from a few years back. However, I haven’t seen Heads will Roll. Need to add it to my viewing list. You were quite creative in developing these pumpkin donuts. Bet they smell as good as they taste.