Inspiration strikes in crazy and unexpected ways. Because get this: I had literally never even thought about apple fritters a week ago.
A week ago, if you had said to me, ‘Hey Sarah, you bodacious babe, why no apple fritters on your blog?’
I would have replied, ‘What are you talking about, my dear Willis?’.
My mental picture of an apple fritter a week ago was of a ring of apple, battered and fried. Which, frankly, did nothing for me gustatorily. Apple, batter, fryer – so far so boring.
But then, my friends, I got an email. A totally cool email from a totally cool person who reads this here blog. So of course, I stalked the entire internet history of this person. Which led me to reading a couple of articles about the donut scene in LA. Because I like to try and keep up with the donut scene globally, you know?
And that, good readers, is where I first laid eyes on the donut-shop apple fritter. No measly batter-coated apple ring, this was a big, chunky, apple filled pile of yeast-risen goodness.
In my mind I could already taste the crispy, nutmeggy donut batter, wrapped around abundant chunks of soft apple, the whole thing redolent with cinnamon. I envisioned a fritter that would bring together all the best aspects of a donut and an apple pie.
Only one question remained. Should I coat them with a vanilla bean glaze, as seems traditional? Or do I trust my instincts and douse them in salted caramel? I took to twitter with this burning question, and the great hive-mind (with special thanks to @DMartin_3 @ohsosweetbaker @KateSpritz & @PerthChocoholic) provided.
Salted caramel won by a mile.
Did these apple fritters live up to my dreams? You know they did. Just about the best damn thing I’ve eaten this year. Seriously. SO WORTH the effort of frying. And this batch only makes six, which is a good thing, trust me. You don’t want to have more than six of these in the house at one time.
These donuts are so good, I could fall in love with them. Which is a seamless segue to this awesome little video, sent to me by the talented Kira Hesser. I loved this little film, such a cool quirky idea and great execution. If I ever do a video for The Sugar Hit, I’d want it to be like this!
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1 +1/2 cups flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- ¼ tsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- oil, for frying
- 2 small tart apples, peeled and chopped (just over 1 cup chopped apple)
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ stick (75g) butter
- ½ cup cream
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Heat the milk and butter gently in the microwave until just warm. The butter does not need to be melted.
- Add the yeast to the milk and butter, and stir to dissolve.
- Place the remaining dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, and mix briefly to combine.
- Add the yeast mixture, egg yolk and vanilla to the flour, and mix on a low speed for about 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Cover with plastic and set aside for an hour, to double in size.
- Meanwhile, place the apples, sugar and cinnamon into a small skillet and cook on a high heat until the apples are just softened around the edge. There should be barely any liquid in the pan. Set these aside to cool completely.
- When the dough is risen, pat it out on a floured surface to a 10 inch square. Pile the apples into the centre of the dough, and then fold the edges over. Fold the dough a few more times, until the apples are well distributed, but be cautious. Less is more.
- Divide the dough into six portions and set aside on a lined baking sheet to rise for about 20 minutes.
- While the dough is rising, preheat about 2 inches of oil in a deep pot, such as a dutch oven and make the salted caramel.
- Heat the sugar, with a splash of water, in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Do not stir the pan, but keep heating until the sugar melts, and then begins to caramelise. When the sugar syrup is a darkish amber, remove it from the heat, add the butter and sugar and stir carefully. The mixture will bubble up.
- Once the caramel has settled back down, place it back on the heat for about 30 seconds, just to thicken a little, then add the salt and set it aside.
- When the oil is at about 170C/340F, carefully transfer one donut at a time to the oil and cook them for 2 minutes per side. They will be very dark.
- Drain each donut well on paper towels, and then serve with the salted caramel!