Thursday, October 14, 2010

Apple Fritters

This month has been pretty amazing for Minnesota this year. The weather has been beautiful and even quite warm for a few days there at the beginning of the month. I love this time of year and we're trying to enjoy it as much as we can. The only part I don't like is that I know that it's going to start getting colder here quite soon. I ride my motorcycle up to the transit station every day and I've already noticed some mornings are getting a little chilly on the bike.

Fortunately, last Saturday was a beautiful warm day and we decide to take advantage of it and go to an Apple Orchard in nearby Lakeville, MN. It was quite busy as it was on of the last days of self picking for the season but we had a great time and got a pretty good stock of apples. Of course we got some Honeycrisp, primarily just for eating. The trees were pretty bare but we found a few good spots and I climbed up one tree to grab a few good ones. We also picked a large bag of the Haralson variety. We were told it was a great variety to cook with and it definitely was. Very crisp and tart, they held up well and had a fantastic flavor in both the applesauce and fritters that we made with them.

These fritters were pretty amazing. Although they're fried, they really don't have a typical heavy fried flavor and the apples are caramelized with cinnamon and sugar before being mixed into the fritter batter making a perfect contrast to the tartness of the apples. Make sure you don't over beat the egg whites and carefully fold them in at the end. This will ensure that they are light and moist when cooked. Also, if you have a small cookie scooper, it works great for dropping the batter into the oil.

Apple Fritters
adapted from Bon Appetit
Fritter Coating
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Apple Filling
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 pound apples (about 3), peeled, cored, cut into 1/3- to 1/2-inch cubes (about 3 cups)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sparkling apple cider
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Fritter Base 
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 large eggs, separated
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
Vegetable oil (for deep-frying)


Fritter Coating
Blend sugar and cinnamon in small bowl. DO AHEAD Coating can be made 3 days ahead. Cover; store at room temperature.

Apple Filling
Melt butter in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon; toss to coat. Sauté until apples are browned in spots and tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add cider and vinegar. Cook until all liquid evaporates, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Set filling aside in skillet to cool.
Fritter Base
Whisk flour, sugar, lemon peel, baking powder, and spices in large bowl to blend. Whisk buttermilk, egg yolks, and melted butter in medium bowl to blend. Gradually stir buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients. Beat egg whites and coarse salt in another medium bowl until peaks form. Gently fold egg whites into fritter base, then fold in cooled apple filling.

Pour enough oil into heavy large saucepan to reach depth of 1 1/2 inches (5 to 6 cups). Attach deep-fry thermometer to side of pan. Heat oil to 320°F to 330°F over medium heat. Working in batches of 5 or 6, drop batter into oil by tablespoonfuls. Fry fritters until deep golden brown and cooked through, turning fritters occasionally and adjusting heat to maintain oil temperature, about 4 minutes per batch. Using slotted spoon, transfer fritters to paper towels. Drain briefly, then toss warm fritters in cinnamon-sugar coating. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven 5 minutes, if desired.


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