All the talk in the media of our impending “Southern Freeze 2014” had everyone here in Savannah and the surrounding areas acting like we were going to be snowed in until March. Schools let out at noon yesterday even though the winter weather wasn’t due until evening, a major local employer sent their employees home at noon as well, and people were shopping like they were preparing for a hurricane, not the 1-2 inches of snow and 1/4 inch of ice that was forecasted.
I on the other hand was thinking how winter weather with a lovely coating of winter white on the lawn and trees would be perfect inspiration for some great winter baking and cooking. Unfortunately having a long “to-do” list has kept me from the preferred task of cooking up a soup, making homemade bread, and baking something sweet or two. However there is something about days where you know that everyone else is taking it slow that make you want to be a little lazy and maybe indulge in things you might not normally do. I don’t normally do doughnuts at home, they just seem to be one of those things that are better enjoyed out but it was one of those days when you just want to set things aside and take time to do something you wouldn’t normally do. Thus waking up this morning I decided to start the day be frying up some apple fritters.
Unlike yeast donuts, the nice part about these fritters is that they are leavened with baking powder so you can mix them and fry them without letting them rise.
Make sure oil is 350F-375F degrees.
Test the oil temperature by flicking a little flour into the oil. If it sizzles immediately it’s the right temperature. If it burns, it’s too hot. If it sinks to the bottom, the oil is too cold.
It will be easier to maintain the oil temperature by frying in an electric skillet or fryer where the thermostat can regulate the temperature for you.
If frying on the stovetop, a cast iron skillet will help maintain the oil at a more even temperature once it’s heated.
The fritters will be a deep brown color when done. Let them rest a bit before cutting or breaking open to test doneness. The residual heat will allow them to finish cooking.
Always test one and break it open to see if it’s done before frying the whole batch. If there is still wet batter on the inside, they need to be fried longer.
Yield: Approximately 12 1-2 inch fritters
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/3 cup milk
1 medium Granny Smith apple (or other cooking apple), peeled, cored and diced 1/8″
Oil for frying (Vegetable, canola, corn, safflower, cottonseed oil are all suitable)
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine the dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, beat the egg well with the vanilla extract. Add the melted butter and milk.
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Fold together until it’s an even moist consistency about the consistency of a medium-bodied cake batter. Fold in the diced apples until evenly distributed.
Pour oil into a cast iron pan, another heavy-bottomed pan, or electric skillet or fryer so that it’s to the depth of about 3/4″. Heat oil to 350 degrees.
Test oil by adding a flick of flour to see if it sizzle vigorously and is ready for frying. Use a small scoop or soup spoon, place 3-4 scoops of dough into the oil and begin to fry until the first side is a dark iced tea color. Flip over to the second side and fry until the bubbles begin to subside around the fritter. Be careful not to overcrowd the pan or the oil will get too cool and soak into the fritters. Fritters will probably need to fry for about 1 minute per side. Test one or two to determine color and doneness before frying the whole batch. When fritters are done, removed to a paper towel lined baking sheet to drain after frying.
When fritters are done frying, combine the powdered sugar with the milk and vanilla extract to make a thin glaze. Dip the fritters into the glaze, coating completely. Let excess glaze drip off and then place on a cooling rack placed above a baking sheet to catch excess glaze as it drips.
Variation: Instead of glazing fritters, dust them with powdered sugar mixed with ground cinnamon.[/print_this]