Italian Apple Fritters

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Yield:

    6 to 8

    Servings

Appears in

These luscious fritters are based on a recipe from a delightful cookbook published by the Jewish community of Casale Monferrato, La Cucina della Memoria. A word-for-word recipe appears in the classic Italian-Jewish cookbook, La Cucina nella Tradizione Ebraica, where its origin is attributed to Central European Jews.

But for us, the fritters will always taste Italian.

Ingredients

  • 6 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into â…“-inch rings
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs, separated (at room temperature)
  • 3 tablespoons mild olive, canola, or avocado oil
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Salt
  • 1½ cups beer
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Confectioners’ sugar, brown sugar, or maple sugar, for sprinkling

Method

Put the apple slices in a large resealable plastic bag and add the brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon (use the larger amount if you prefer a more pronounced cinnamon flavor, rather than a background note). Seal, then move the apples around in the bag until the seasonings are evenly distributed. Let the apples macerate at room temperature for about 1 hour.

In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the oil until well blended. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the yolks. Add the beer, a little at a time, mixing well and squooshing the batter against the bowl to break up any lumps. Stir the batter until smooth, then let it rest at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°F if you want to bring all the fritters to the table at the same time, instead of serving them right from the pan as they are done.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff but not dry, and gently fold into the batter.

In a large, deep, heavy skillet (do not use nonstick here), heat ½ inch of canola oil over medium heat until gently sizzling (about 360°F). Dip the apple rings one at a time into the batter, making sure each is completely covered, then letting the excess drip off before slipping it carefully into the hot oil. Fry in batches, about 5 rings at a time so you don’t crowd the pan, until golden brown on both sides and the apple is tender and cooked through. Use two spatulas or a spatula and a large spoon to turn them.

Line a serving plate or ovenproof platter with crushed paper towels. Serve the fritters immediately, sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar, brown sugar, or maple sugar, or, less desirably, keep warm on a rack placed over the platter in a slow oven until all the fritters are ready to be brought to the table.

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