Donut Shop Apple FrittersPhoto Credit : Amy Traverso
I wrote about 100 apple recipes for my book, The Apple Lover’s Cookbook, but somehow I never got around to apple fritters. I made cider donuts and baked cider donuts, but not those old-fashioned fritters with a texture like monkey bread. Then my friend Adam, who grew up in Massachusetts but lives in London, sent me a message begging for a recipe. “I’m dying to find a recipe for donut shop apple fritters!” he wrote. “There are tons of recipes online that use baking powder, but I’m looking for a proper yeasted, chewy fritter. Keep your eyes peeled!”
Well, Adam, challenge accepted. The following recipe is definitely a project bake…something to make when you have a free day at home. You can also start the fritters at night, let the dough do its first rise in the refrigerator, and then finish them in the morning. You’ll see those instructions below. Either way, the fritters are not difficult, but you’ll need some patience and a careful hand with the flour. You want the dough to be as wet as possible while still being workable. That careful balance gives you a lighter texture.
Also, to achieve that pull-apart texture, this apple fritter recipe will ask you roll the dough and apples up like a jelly roll, then cut that roll into pieces. It may seem a bit odd, but it really is the best way. In fact, I tried making the fritters without this step and they simply didn’t have the proper texture.
Note: Like all donuts, the fritters are best served on the day they are made. If you do have some leftovers, you can store the overnight in a paper bag or freeze them in an airtight plastic bag, then warm them in a 275℉ oven. The glaze will be stickier, but they’ll still taste very good.
For the fritters:
1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) rapid rise yeast
1 cup apple cider
6 tablespoons melted salted butter
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
4 to 4 1/4 cups (480g to 520g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon table salt
Vegetable oil for frying
For the filling:
1 1/2 large tart apples, cut into a 1/4-inch dice
2 tablespoons salted butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
For the glaze:
3 1/4 cup (370g) powdered sugar
1/2 cup hot water
Large pinch salt
In a large bowl, which together 4 cups (480 g) flour and the salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cider, melted butter, and eggs. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry and stir with a spatula until the dough comes together in a ball. Use your hand to knead dough in the bowl, adding the remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed to prevent sticking. Knead for a total of 3 minutes. Pour a bit of oil over the dough ball, then turn to coat. Cover the bowl and let it rise until doubled in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. You can also refrigerate the dough for up to 36 hours.
Meanwhile, make the filling: melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet and add the diced apples. Cook, stirring often, until the apples begin to soften, 3 minutes. Add the sugar and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 2 more minutes. Spread apples on a large plate and let them cool to room temperature while the dough rises.
When the dough has finished rising, dust your counter with flour, then turn the dough out. If it has been in the refrigerator overnight, cover it with a towel and let it come to room temperature for 1 hour.
Dust the dough with flour, then roll it out to an oval that’s roughly 18 inches long. Position the oval lengthwise (that is, with one of the short end facing you). Spread the apple mixture over the dough, leaving a one-inch border at the top. Sprinkle the filing with 1/4 cup flour and the cinnamon. Starting from the bottom, roll the dough up like a jelly roll. Starting from the left side, use a knife or bench scraper to cut the roll diagonally into strips. Now. from the right side, cut on the opposite diagonal, so the dough is broken down into diamond-shaped pieces roughly 1 inch long. This will look and feel quite messy, but don’t be discouraged. This step is essential to achieve the pull-apart texture. Dust this mass with the remaining 3 tablespoons flour, then gather these pieces back together in a loaf and press it very firmly back together. If you don’t squeeze tightly, the fritters can fall apart in the oil.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Using a knife or bench scraper, cut the loaf crosswise into 12 rounds. Press the rounds with your fingers to elongate them a bit, then set them on the prepared baking sheet, cover with a sheet of parchment paper and let rise for 30 minutes.
Ten minutes into the final rise, fill a Dutch oven halfway with oil and set over medium heat, bringing the temperature to 365℉. Line a rimmed baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
Use a spatula to transfer two or three fritters into the hot oil and cook until nicely browned on one side, about 2 minutes, then flip and cook until the other side is browned, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes more. Transfer the cooked fritters to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet and blot to remove excess oil. Repeat with remaining dough, checking the oil temperature regularly and adjusting the heat to keep it as close to 365℉.
Transfer fritters to two wire racks set over rimmed baking sheets. When cooled, prepare the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, hot water, and salt in a medium bowl.
Dip the fritters in the glaze on both sides, then transfer back to the wire racks. Let sit until the glaze has set, about 10 minutes. Serve.