My counter was full of good but not perfect apples from the espaliers. Each had a little scab or a bruise or a small wormhole, so they weren’t going into storage in the refrigerator.
Over the course of the day the whisper in my brain: “apple fritters…apple fritters….” rang louder and louder until finally I gave in, handed my kids apple peelers and called it a project.
Because these Apple Fritters are made with 100% whole wheat flour, they are a bit toothier and more rustic than the sugar-shellacked, grease-bomb fritters from the donut shops of my youth. They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, but are nothing like the toothache/spun-air combo of a Krispy Kreme. These make a respectable, though certainly not healthy, breakfast or snack item.
Cinnamon Spiced Whole Wheat Apple Fritters
Adapted from the Baking Illustrated Buttermilk Doughnut Recipe
- 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour (you can substitute AP flour if you like)
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- Scant 1 cup milk + 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 4 cups peeled, small-diced apples
- Finely grated zest of one lemon, about 1 tbsp.
Cinnamon Sugar, optional, for coating
- 1-2 tbsp cinnamon, to taste, mixed with ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ pounds non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening, lard, coconut oil or high-heat frying oil, as desired.
Whisk the dry ingredients together thoroughly.
Add the lemon juice to the milk and let stand for about 30 seconds, or until milk is curdled. Mix in the eggs and melted butter. Stir to combine.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir to just combine. The dough should be quite thick.
Add in the diced apples and lemon zest and fold everything together thoroughly.
Obviously, be careful. We are talking about taking over a pound of fat up to emergency-room-burn inducing temperatures. While these fritters are not a particularly difficult item to fry, it’s best to always approach frying with a healthy amount of respect. I keep my two year old well clear when I fry.
Heat your frying fat of choice over medium heat in a deep cast iron skillet. The fat should reach at least ¾” up the side of the skillet and there should be at least an inch or two of skillet above the oil.
Test the oil temperature by dropping in a small piece of dough. If it floats and looks like lots of little bubbles (but not big rolling bubbles) are coming off the underside of the doughnut, and the outside browns without burning, then the temperature is right. About 370 is what you are shooting for if you temp your oil.
Scoop portions of dough into your hands and pat the dough into a disk about a ½” – ¾” thick. It will puff and swell as it cooks. If the dough is too sticky to pat down, a bit of flour on your fingers will solve that problem.
Fry the fritters several at a time, taking care not to overcrowd the skillet or allow the temperature of the oil to drop too low. Adjust the temperate to maintain that rapid flow of small bubbles from the underside of the fritters.
When the first side of the fritters are golden brown and crispy looking, carefully flip them over with a thin spatula or wooden chopstick and fry the second side.
When the fritters are equally golden on all sides and the inside of the dough is fully cooked (if necessary, you may have to sacrifice and taste one right away to make sure they are cooking properly), remove the fritters to a cooling rack set over a sheet pan to drain and cool slightly.
If desired, dust or roll the fritters with the cinnamon sugar before serving.
I have little waxed paper sandwich bags left over from my catering days, so I popped a bit of cinnamon sugar and a hot fritter into a bag for each of the kids.
They got to shake their own fritter and then eat it straight out of the bag. For my kids, food from a bag is like, super totally cool.
Here is my son demonstrating his fritter-shaking technique.