Apple Fritters


Molly from Remedial Eating asked me a great question on my last doughnut post… do I have any great apple fritter recipes? Apple fritters are one of those pastries that people get very excited about… but what one person means by apple fritter might be completely different than another. Much like crullers, which can be rich, dense cake doughnuts or lighter than air pâte à choux doughnuts, apple fritters come in all shapes and sizes.

Because I already had a few apple recipes (apple cider doughnuts and fried apple pie doughnuts) in the book, I didn’t develop one for apple fritters. So, when Molly asked if I had one I really liked, I had to start looking around. Like Molly, I had a bowl of apples sitting on my table, so what better use could there be than experiment with a few.

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I started by looking around the web where I found that the most common recipes for fritters based is cake doughnut batter. There are also yeast dough fritters which are most likely what you find in doughnut shops (at least if your doughnut shop happens to be Tim Hortons). And then, there are the fruit fritters which are more like tempura batter… I had made some of these for Epicurious a while back and they are super yummy. They could easily be made with apples (although it’s also the perfect time to be making pear fritters!)

Finally I decided to stick with the more common home version… a baking powder raised cake dough. After a couple of attempts, I hit fritter gold. These might be a bit different than the heavily caramelized fritters you find in many doughnut shops which are often more glaze than fritter. Instead, they are light and fluffy with a slightly crisp crust, and subtly sweet (which can be adjusted with whatever coating you choose). The apple flavor, enhanced by the touch of apple cider vinegar, really punches through. They are also super quick and simple to make… you don’t even need a special doughnut cutter!

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Apple Fritters
A quick note about the salt in this recipe. I almost never have fine salt on hand, and use coarse salt in most of my baking. For cake doughnuts like this recipe, coarse salt doesn’t seem to have quite enough time to break down, so you end up with little bites of saltiness every once in a while. I happen to love this… but most people find a bite of salt in the middle of sweet a little off putting, so you might prefer using very fine salt instead.

Update: Another great idea… stir in some chopped pecans and/or raisins when you add the apples!

280 grams all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
75 grams superfine sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 medium apples, diced
1 egg
2 tablespoons yogurt
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
High-heat vegetable oil (canola, safflower or peanut) for frying

cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar or doughnut glaze as desired

Sift the flour and baking powder together and then whisk in the sugar, salt and spices. Add the butter to the flour mixture and work in with your fingers to break up the big pieces. Add the apple dice, and stir to coat.

Whisk the egg, yogurt, milk and vinegar together, and add all at once to the flour mixture. Mix until just combined (by hand is best). You should have a dough that resembles scone dough… so it’ll will hold together but likely be a little sticky.

On a well floured surface, with well floured hands, press 1/2 of the dough out into a long, flat log about 8″ x 4″ x 1/2″. Make another with the remaining dough. Cover, and let the dough rest while you bring the oil (2″ deep in a pot) up to 350F.

When the oil is hot, cut the logs into 1 1/2″ bars (~6 or 7 per log). Fry for 1 minute on one side, flip and fry for a minute on the other, and then repeat for a total of around 4 minutes per fritter. They should be a medium golden brown. You can fry more than one at a time, but be careful not to overcrowd the pot. Check the oil temperature between each batch. Also – the apples release water as they fry, which means the oil will pop more so than with other doughnuts. So be careful!

Drain the fritters on a rack above a paper towel, until cool to the touch. Then dust in cinnamon or powdered sugar or glaze with your favorite doughnut glaze. Enjoy while still a little warm!

23 thoughts on “Apple Fritters

  1. Lara, you rock. I ad hoc’d some fritters this afternoon (not having caught this, yet), and they were, well, not memorable. My printer is spewing your version as I type, and, lucky me, I’ve a bushel of apples yet to go through! Thanks a million! Molly

    1. You are welcome! Let me know how this recipe works for you… there are so many different types of fritters. I’d love to hear what makes a perfect one for you!

  2. Hi, Lara—I just found your site, and it’s jaw-droppingly pretty. I can’t wait to read more!

    Also, I’d always wondered if there were any good recipes for apple cider doughnuts out there, so now my fingers are walking over to your book’s page on 🙂

  3. These look divine! I have one question though. I have an issue with chunks of fruit in my baked goods. Do you think you could use apple sauce instead?

    1. I think applesauce would be too liquidy. But how about grating the apple? Would those pieces be small enough not to bother you?

  4. These are great and were wonderfully easy to make. Question: My doughnuts (from your book!) and these fritters always come out much more deeply browned than those in your pictures, and much more craggly (!!) too, even if I cook them for a shorter time. The oil temperature seems to be right. Any suggestions? Thank you Lara!

    1. Hi Michael,

      My first thought would be to verify that your thermometer is reading correctly. I’ve found that they vary wildly in accuracy… and if you are cooking for less time and they are more brown, then the oil is probably too hot.

      The other two things to try would be a bit less sugar (which causes them to brown more quickly) or a bit less flour (which would make them a bit more craggy). Since the density of sugar and flour can vary based on brand, if you are using volume measurements instead of weight, you may get different results. Also, for the flour, even the same weight measurement can be different if you use say King Arthur flour versus Gold Medal as the protein content is different, so you might have to tweak a little bit. I typically use King Arthur or Stone Bhur flour and the C&H Bakers superfine sugar.

      Hope that helps!

  5. I tried these mainly because they were the best looking and it was also what I was looking for. This is also my first attempt at making donuts… and I never deep fry anything other than lumpia… so at first it was a mess. The logs kept coming apart and crumbling in the oil. I must have diced the apple pieces too big, so I ended up removing a good amount of apple. The end result was more like a scone and not fluffy. But, it was still very good, the sweet and spice were fantastic. Did I just not let the dough rest enough?

    1. Hi Linda – The first question I had was what was the consistency of the dough when you rolled it out and cut it. Perhaps you needed to add a bit more flour (the dough after mixing is pretty sticky, and I am very generous with the flour at this stage)? The dough will still be very soft, but shouldn’t crumble. It is very similar to a biscuit dough at this stage. They should also float almost immediately when you put them in the oil. The resting should be at least about 10 minutes (this helps the flour incorporate the wet ingredients), but it can rest up to 25 minutes with no problem.

      These are cake-style fritters, not yeast raised, so they will be more dense than something like a krispy kreme dough. But, they should be fluffy kind of like a muffin would be… not as dense as a scone. You can increase the baking powder slightly which should make them rise a bit more.

  6. Just made these for brunch, since it’s Chanukah. I’ve never made doughnuts before and generally steer clear of deep-frying, but ’tis the season…

    Anyhow, they came out marvelously!! Instead of cutting them in bars I cut the logs into little “cubes”.. basically very rough doughnut holes. Rolled them in cinnamon sugar. They were a huge hit — irresistible even to our most health-conscious friends — and the deep frying was much less intense or scary than I feared. I used Stone Bhur flour (being in PDX and all) and pink lady apples. (Also, I used regular organic granulated sugar, not superfine, and didn’t notice any sort of sandy texture.) YUM!

    Thanks, Lara!

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