Frittering my time away

I realize this is quickly becoming a food blog, but I promise it’s only because it’s finally cooled off enough that the mere thought of turning on the stove doesn’t make me break out in a cold sweat!  I predict as the novelty of being reunited with my kitchen wears off and the temperature cools, you’ll see an uptick in knitting and sewing and other stuff again!

But, the kitchen honeymoon is still going strong, so today you get to read about my apple fritters.  Toffee apple fritters, to be exact.

The impetus for these fritters took a good long time to come to fruition (ha!).  In early August, John and I discovered that Trader Joe’s sells rather inexpensive and ridiculously smooth caramels.  So we brought a box home with us and have had a dwindling dish of caramels sitting on the table ever since.  Last week, on a whim, I had an apple for a snack, and grabbed a caramel to go with it.  Groundbreaking stuff, I know.  And then a few days later, I was reading my Jacques Pepin cookbook looking for some dinner inspiration, and the page opened to the Apple fritters recipe.  And it all clicked.  Caramel. Apple. Fritters.  (I know, I said Toffee Apple Fitters earlier…I’m getting to that.)

It turned out that we had everything on hand to make the fritters, so I gave them a test whirl.  First I chopped up some of the caramels; each one into eighths.

Then I chopped the apples into roughly 1/2-inch cubes.  The fritters are held together with a thin batter that is basically just flour, egg, and water.  Easy peasy!

Stir the apples and the caramels into the batter and you’re set!  Heat some oil up in a  heavy pan.  I find for shallow-frying like this, your best bet is to use a pan with pretty high sides to contain spatters of oil, so I use my 6 qt. le crueset dutch oven.  I can fit 3 fritters at a time that way.

Once the oil is hot (it should be just smoking), gently drop fritters by 1/3 cups into the hot oil.  Use a couple forks to spread them out so they are an even layer.

Let them sit in the oil for a minute, then poke them around to make sure they aren’t sticking to the bottom of the pan or to each other.  Cook the fritters 3-4 minutes on the first side (till good and browned in spots), then flip them (still using the two forks…it’s just easier).

Let them cook another 3 minutes or so, till the other side is nicely browned.  Lift the cooked fritters out of the oil with a slotted spoon and set them to cool and drain.  (I set a wire rack into a cookie sheet lined with paper towels…easy cleanup).

Repeat until all your batter has been fried up!  You will have a dozen very awesome fritters.  And those caramel bits?  Did you forget about those?  No?  Well, what happens when you cook caramel to a higher temperature than 230-some degrees?  Well, it gets to the hard-ball candy stage and becomes toffee!  Drop it into 350-degree oil and presto!  Toffee!

Once they’re all cooked, give them a little dusting of powdered sugar (if your apples are really sweet, you may not even need this, but it looks nice!).

These are best served warm, but you can also reheat them in a toaster oven if you made them ahead.

I think my favorite thing about these fritters was how very appley they were!  When I get apple fritters in a pastry shop, they’re all fritter and very little apple…these ones are alllllll apple!  I suggest you give them a try!

Toffee Apple Fritters

Makes 12 fritters.

  • 1 lb. apples (about 3), I suggest Granny Smith or similar
  • 4 1-1/2″ caramels
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. ice cold water
  • 1 c. canola oil
  1. Dice apples into 1/2″ pieces.  Cut each caramel into 8 pieces.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine flour and the egg and about a third of the water.  Whisk together till smooth, then add remaining water and whisk again till smooth (this two-step approach will help keep lumps to a minimum).  Gently stir apples and caramels into the batter, making sure to keep the caramels from sticking together.
  3. Heat oil over medium high heat till just smoking.  Drop the batter into the hot oil by the 1/3 cupful.  Spread into an even layer and cook 3-4 minutes, till golden brown on the first side.  Flip and cook another 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from oil and drain on a wire rack.  Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
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