Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Just in time for apple season: Apple fritters

Local apples are just coming into the markets and being sold in stores.  Recently I made some apple fritters with some local apples I bought at Joe's Garden http://www.joesgardens.com/ in Bellingham.  We kind of forgot about them (The summer can get quite busy around here.) and they were getting a bit soft.  I'm super picky about fruit in general and so I won't eat an apple unless it is crisp and hard.  I didn't want the apples to go to waste so I decided to try out a recipe that I saw on Essential Pepin. 

First of all I would like to say a bit about Jacques Pepin.  He is an amazing french chef that I've been following for almost 20 years.  I first began to watch his cooking shows on KCTS (public channel) when I was in college.  I loved the way he made the preparation of food seem so simple and elegant.  Over the years I have also enjoyed how he never lets anything go to waste.  I too hate any type of waste and have been using his techniques and recipes for quite a few years now.  We are such fans of his in our house that everyone knows to keep quiet when Jacques is on.  My husband has experimented with his recipes as well and my youngest son (3 1/2) watches him with me.  He especially likes the Essential Pepin episodes where Jacques brings in his granddaughter to cook with him.

Here is a link to the Essential Pepin episode that I watched.  The section regarding apple fritters is on 19:25.  Fast forward if you don't have time but be sure to watch in full later on because it really is a good episode about utilizing late summer fruit. 

**In general I followed Jacques' recipe but I made a few changes based upon my personal preferences and what I already had in the house.  If you watch this episode you will see that Jacques uses beer in his fritter batter.  Well, I like beer and I prefer to drink it instead of using it in recipes.  After looking in my fridge I noticed that we had a bottle of hard cider that a patient had made and given to my husband.  It's quite tart and we tend not to drink it all by itself.  It was a perfect replacement for the beer.  Also, instead of using plain powdered sugar to dust the fritters I sifted in some cinnamon. 

Here's my rendition of Jacques Pepin's Apple Fritters:
*1 cup all-purpose flour
*3 apples (It doesn't really matter what kind you are using.  Use what you prefer and what's available at your local market/farm/store.)
*Vegetable Oil (lots of it.  I used a bottle of it that I had had for a while and wanted to use it up.)
*LeCreuset Dutch oven or heavy duty pan.  (No non-stick pans)
*Candy or frying thermometer
*Powdered sugar (about 1 tbsp.)
*Cinnamon (about 1 tsp)
*1 bottle of hard cider
*sheet pan
*wire rack

Put the flour in a medium bowl and gradually whisk in the hard cider.  Keep mixing until the batter is thick but not watery.  Slice the apples (Keep the skin of the apple intact.  This is one of the reasons why I prefer to utilize no-spry or organic apples.) and dust with a small amount of cinnamon.  Place the apple slices into the batter and mix with a spoon.  Gently drop a small finger full of battered apples into 320-330 degree vegetable oil.  Use a spoon if this is your first time frying or if you are nervous.

**A word about oil and frying.  I refuse to buy a fryer.  If you have one then you can definitely use it.  I just prefer to use the equipment that is already in my kitchen.  The vegetable oil is super duper hot so BE CAREFUL  about splashing oil.   Also, please do not use non-stick pots or pans for frying.  Many non-stick pans are only supposed to be used up to a certain temperature.  The oil in this recipe should be around 320-330 degrees and many non-stick pans cannot handle that high of a temperature.  Also, the taste of whatever you are frying is more difficult to clean away with a non-stick pan. 

After the fritters have cooked for a few minutes turn them over with a fork. When both sides are a nice brown color use a slotted spoon and place on a wire rack with a sheet pan underneath.  White the fritters are still hot sprinkle with powdered sugar and cinnamon.

Keep frying until you run out of apples and batter.  Once the apples have cooled a bit sprinkle them again with powdered sugar and cinnamon.  Serve and enjoy.  They will be very hot inside so taste gently. 

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