01 January, 2008

New Year's Eve Apple Fritter Rings

I personally don't have that big of a sweet tooth, but I enjoy a dessert that combines a little sweetness with a little tartness, and this is exactly what these simple apple fritters offer. They were meant to be some sweet finger-food, but we ended up having them for dessert, with accompaniment of caramel ice cream.

The biggest part of making them is really just prepping the apples. You use

4 large tart apples. (The recipe I used called for 5, but the batter was just barely enough, even though I must have eaten at least half an apple from the pieces that didn't come out perfectly.)

You peel and cut them into one-inch thick rings.

If you don't have a corer, there is actually a pretty easy alternative which I use. You take each slice and with the tip of the knife cut out a circle around the seed heart. Make sure your slice is placed flat on a cutting board since the end point of the knife should go all the way through the height of the slice. If you do this well, once you press gently that small circle in the middle, it will pop out immediately. If you don't do it so well, as you might not on the first 1-2 slices, you will have some nice peeled apple pieces to snack on.
1. Cut...
2. ... and pop,
3. until all the rings are ready.

Making the batter is extremely simple. Beat
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vegetable oil (use one without a strong smell or flavor, i.e., no olive oil. Something like corn or sunflower works best.)

Mix all the following dry ingredients:
1 cup flour

2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 dash salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

Stir the dry mix to the wet mix and beat (using a fork is enough; no need for an electric mixer) until the batter is smooth. It is pretty thick, something like this:
At this point, place a deep skillet with a sufficient amount of vegetable oil (same note as above applies - you don't want your apple fritters to taste like olive oil) on the stove and heat it up. Instructions will often call for 375F (medium-high). I don't know of a way to measure this in a pot of hot oil, but from long practice I know how the oil starts looking when it gets hot enough - something like surface "waves" start to appear. If you are really uncertain, you can always drip a small drop of the batter and see if it start frying immediately. If so, you're ready to start deep-frying the rings.
Dip each slice into the batter and place carefully (to avoid potentially very painful splatters) into the hot oil.
Fry a few at a time, but make sure they are not touching each other too closely. Your heat should not be too high, so you can afford to cover the pot so that there is less mess all over the stove. Flip them over if necessary.
They are done when they are golden brown all over.

At this point you can sprinkle with a mix of crystal (granulated) sugar and cinnamon, although it is more for decoration than flavor, because the rings are wonderful as they are. You can serve warm, cold (but don't put in the fridge), or heated over.

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