Apple Fritters | September 29, 2016

Frying makes me nervous.  Growing up we didn’t eat much fried food so I never learned the proper technique to deep frying.  Now, I only do it on very rare occasions and it always has some drama around it for me. Will the oil be hot enough?  Will it be too hot?  What if I spill oil on myself?  What if I spill oil on the dog?  These thoughts not only keep me up at night but they keep me from frying.  I know I need to be a big girl and get over it, so today I made apple fritters.

My thought process is that even if I burn myself I will be eating a freshly made doughnut while the in the emergency room.  It is better to eat a doughnut while burned then to not eat one at all.  (If you agree with me, we should probably be friends.)

I started with a combination of Granny Smith and Honey Crisp varieties and a dream. I asked a good, reliable source for help – thekitchen.com. I knew they would walk me through the process and reduce my fears. The dough and the rolling technique were pretty straight-forward.

First you want to peel, core, and chop the apples into pretty small pieces.  Then cover the apple in cold water and lemon juice to keep them for browning.  You can set the apples this way in the fridge until you are ready to make the filling.

For the dough, it is pretty typical.  It always takes some practice to know when dough is too wet or too dry but sweet doughs are pretty forgiving.  As soon as I start making a dough the first thing I pull out is my Tovolo Pastry Mat.  It takes up some space on my counter which gives me a perfect work space without making a mess on my actual counter.  This recipe especially because the little pieces of sticky, buttery apples kept creeping out onto my nice, easy to clean, silicone mat!  As you set aside the dough to rise you can start on the apple filling.

In a heavy, large skillet, melt the butter and let it get a little brown.  This helps pull out all the nutty goodness – watch it carefully so that is doesn’t burn.  (No more lovely nutty smell – burnt ruined butter smell is NOT the same.)  Drain your apples of the water and lemon juice and add them to the butter.  Sprinkle the sugar and spices (I added a little cardamom as well.)  Cook apples until tender and then add the apple cider vinegar and let the liquid reduce.  Set aside to cool.  I ignored this note and I wouldn’t ignore it again.  The apples being cool would have made the dough easier to work with while rolling.

Ok, here’s the rolling part.  I took some pictures of the process which you can see; I think it helps. First you want to roll the dough into a big rectangle. Then take 3/4 of the apple mixture and spread it out on the dough. Roll the dough into a long tube with the long side facing you.  Turn the dough (I turned the whole Tovolo Pastry Mat) a quarter turn so that one end of the tube is facing you.  Roll the dough flat again, knowing that apple pieces will come out and you just tuck them back in.  Now from what is the short end, roll the dough like a big fire hose until it looks like a giant cinnamon roll. Flatten that again by rolling and tucking in the rogue apple pieces.  This sounds complicated but from the first roll of your rolling pin, this part is really only a few minutes.  Once you have a rectangle again, cut into 12 square’ish pieces.

Onto frying. The MOST important thing is that the oil is at a constant heat of 360F.  Everything I have read confirms this.  If the oil is not hot enough, your fritters will absorb too much oil and be greasy.

Greasy = bad

If your oil is too hot, the fritters will cook too fast on the outside and be raw inside.

Burnt outside = bad

Raw inside = spent alot of time for something I can’t eat. 🙂

Use a pot with plenty of room in it and only fry one or two fritters at a time.  Maybe if you are good at frying you can do more than that but two is how many I felt confident doing at a time.

Important tip:  have EVERYTHING ready before you start frying.  Have a cooling rack out on the counter next to where you are frying lined with paper towel.  Have extra sheets of paper towel already ripped off the roll.  Have wooden chopsticks out to help flip the fritters in the oil.  Have a slotted spoon or spider strainer ready to scoop the fritters out of the oil.  Have your glaze already made.  Have a timer at the ready in case you want to time the fritters in oil after you have a few under your belt.  (like pancakes, be prepared that the first couple of fritters are for testing and might not work out as well.  I cut one of the 12 in half so I could test my heat and timing.)

APPLE FRITTERS

YIELDS 12  |  PREP TIME  3 hours (including proofing)  |   PRINT PDF

INGREDIENTS
For the apple filling:

2 1/2 pounds (about 5 whole)  2 Granny Smith and 3 Honey Crisp apples
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

For the dough:

1 packet of active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
3 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/2 cup whole milk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
Vegetable oil, for frying

For the glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Prep the apples

Core, peel, and chop apples into small pieces. Submerge them in cold water with 2 teaspoons of lemon juice to prevent them from browning. Push the apples down and place a piece of parchment paper on top so the apples don’t bob above the surface of the water. Set aside or refrigerate (for up to 24 hours) until ready to use.

 

Make the dough

Whisk together the yeast, 3 cups of the flour, sugar, salt, and spices in the bowl of a stand mixer. With a dough hook and the mixer on low speed, mix in the milk, followed by the eggs. Continue mixing until the dough gathers into a ball around dough hook, 2 to 4 minutes.

Continue mixing the dough, and add in the butter one tablespoon at time. Allow each tablespoon of butter to combine into the dough before adding another. If dough starts to fall away from the dough hook, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour 1 tablespoon at a time until dough comes back together before adding in next butter piece.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

 

Make the apple filling while the dough rises

Heat the butter for the filling in a skillet over medium-high heat until butter turns brown and smells nutty. Drain the apples and add them to the pan with the butter. Sprinkle with sugar and spices, and cook until tender. Add in vinegar and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Set aside to cool.

 

Assemble the fritters

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Starting from the end closest to your body, scatter 3/4 of the apples over the surface of the dough, then roll it up in a long tube.

Now rotate the tube of dough so it’s perpendicular to your body. Flatten the tube slightly, then scatter the remaining apples over the surface. Roll up the tube like a snail’s shell — the finished dough will look like a large ball.

Using a rolling pin, roll out the apple-filled dough ball to a 1/2-thick rectangle. Some apples may pop out — don’t worry if they do, just set them aside and pop them back in where you can. Use a bench scraper to cut the dough into 2 1/2-inch squares to make 12 fritters. Use your hand to and pull the four corners of each square towards the center. Again, don’t worry about any apples falling out or if they are exposed. Pinch dough together if necessary to create a rough circle.

Place the shaped fritters on a Tovolo Baking Mat lined baking sheet and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 30 minutes or until the fritters puff and almost double in size

 

Make the glaze

Sift the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Stir in the milk and vanilla until smooth. Set aside; warm in the microwave in 10-second bursts if the glaze starts to harden.

 

Deep-fry the fritters

Heat 6 to 7 inches of oil to 360°F in a large Dutch oven. Meanwhile, line a wire rack with paper towels.

Carefully lower 2 or 3 fritters into the hot oil. Fritters will float and not sink. Fry on one side for 30 to 60 seconds or until golden brown, then flip the fritter and fry the other side for 30 to 60 seconds or until golden brown. Remove fritter with a spider or slotted spoon and drain on prepared wire rack. Repeat with the remaining fritters. (Between batches, make sure the oil temperature returns to 360°F and remove any floating pieces of dough or apples.) **My fritters took more than 60 seconds on each side.

Let fritters cool slightly, then brush the glaze on top. Serve immediately.