Photos by Kathy Keeney | Recipe by Jacqui Renager
European and early versions of apple fritters in the U.S. often called for whole apple slices dipped in batter and lightly fried. The all-American staple people have come to know and crave as a deep-fried delight at state fairs and Sunday church potlucks, features chunks of freshly cooked apples nestled in a mound of dough with a light, chewy texture and a sweet glaze that dares you to eat just one.
Unapologetically tart Granny Smith apples are the go-to variety for this recipe, says local cooking instructor Jacqui Renager. “What they lack in bright red apple color, they make up for in texture and bright, consistent flavor,” she notes. “I also find that they tend to be less mealy and more consistently crisp.”
If you like the apples in your fritters with a slight crunch, fold them directly into the batter (as described in the accompanying recipe). If you prefer the apples a little softer, consider sauteing them first for 3-4 minutes in a couple tablespoons of butter and a tablespoon of sugar over medium-high heat, Renager says.
You can also change up the ratio of dough to apples in the fritters—the more apples, the fruitier and chunkier the shape of your fritters. For a little extra fruit zing and a slightly lighter texture to the dough, try substituting sparkling apple cider for the milk in the batter recipe and the glaze recipe.
Much like cooking a pancake, you’ll know the fritter is ready to flip from one side to the other when the dough develops bubbles while frying. Be sure to hold the wire skimmer or slotted spoon steady as you flip to minimize chances of any hot oil splashes.
A hint of almond extract adds depth of flavor to the simple but scrumptious glaze, which can be drizzled on the finished fritters or used to dunk whole fritters into for more of a donut appearance. If you’re drizzling, pop the glaze into the freezer for a few minutes to get the perfect consistency and a whiter color to the glaze. If you’re dunking, you’ll want to keep the glaze nice and warm so it’s viscous enough to coat the fritter.
Either way, your fritters are destined to be fabulous. Enjoy.
Apple Fritters for the Fall
Recipe by Jacqui Renager of Fun in the Kitchen with Jacqui, CookingWithJacqui.com
Makes 12 fritters
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¾ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (protects against oxidation and amplifies flavor of fruits)
3 ½ cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup whole milk
Peanut oil for frying (neutral taste and high smoke point)
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
Prepare the dry ingredients: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt in a medium bowl.
In a separate bowl, add the diced apples and the lemon juice. Stir to combine.
Add the sugar and eggs to the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed until combined. Reduce to low and add the flour mixture in and mix until just combined (don’t overmix). Add the milk and continue to stir until all well combined and then fold in the diced apples.
Fill a deep sauté pan ½ full of peanut oil. Heat over medium heat until the oil reaches 375°F (an instant read thermometer is a great tool for measuring temperature).
Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, gently drop batter into oil and let fry until golden brown (this will not take long so keep your eye on it by gently lifting on the fritter every 20 seconds or so). Gently turn it over and fry other side until golden brown. Use a toothpick or cake tester to check for doneness. If you insert it and it comes out clean, it is done—much like testing a cake. If not, fry a little longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel-lined cooling rack and let drain momentarily. Continue until batter is gone. Transfer drained fritters to a wire rack lined baking sheet to the oven to keep warm.
¼ cup whole milk
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Combine milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat until warm.
Sift confectioners’ sugar into milk mixture. Whisk slowly, until well combined. Drizzle over hot fritters.