Remember the clamcake recipe I mentioned recently? Well with a few alterations, I changed it into an apple fritter recipe.
Why? Of course there's a story behind it. Bill had a sore throat last week, and as a teacher, that presents quite a problem - especially when he's teaching huge chorus classes. So he took two days off and returned to work on Thursday, and I, being the happy homemaker/nurturer/loving wife/really annoying individual that I am, decided to make him a nice soothing, comforting dinner.
I figured I'd roast a chicken and serve it with cous cous and spinach - the spinach would be sauteed in olive oil and then mixed - still over heat with a couple of beaten eggs and some grated parmesan.
Well, the only whole chickens at the grocery store that day were little 3-4 pound ones - not the size I wanted. But there were sales going on, and so I bought a 10-pack of chicken thighs. And I sort of cooked them the same way I'd do a whole chicken - I cut up onion and mushrooms and scattered them around the pan, and placed the thighs, skin side up, on top, and sprinkled liberally with salt and pepper, which gives you a nice crispy skin. In addition to that, I also chopped up fresh tarragon and parsley (that I'd packed away in olive oil in the freezer at the end of October), garlic, and lemon zest and mixed them all together and tucked them between the skin and the flesh of the chicken thighs.
I baked them at 375 degrees F, for probably about an hour. Then I set the chicken aside and made a gravy with the drippings and mushrooms and onions, a buerre manie (which is just a blend of flour and butter, mashed together, that acts as a thickener. The good thing about mashing the flour and butter together is that the fat of the butter coats the flour particles and you don't get lumps. You just want to make sure you continue to cook whatever you put it in so there's no raw flour taste. It's different from a roux, as a roux is a cooked mixture of butter and flour - cooked first to get the desired flavor and then you add the liquids, etc.) where was I? Oh yes, and some white wine and salt and pepper and dried tarragon.
Alex liked the cous cous and the chicken. Julia liked the cous cous and the mushrooms in the gravy and a bit of the chicken. Bill liked all of it. So did I. I was really pleased that the chicken skin was crispy.
But what's this got to do with apple fritters? Not much, I admit. But I had also wanted to make a dessert that would be soothing. And to me, warm = soothing. But then, so does cold. And Bill likes apples. And cinnamon is yummy with apples. And we still had frying oil on the stove from the clamcakes. And hmmm...what if I substituted.... And from all that disjointed thinking came my experimental apple fritter recipe. I have no pictures - sorry 'bout that. But I have testimonials from Bill and Alex.
Bill: (Eyes wide, mouth full, head nodding) "Mnhrrmmm!"
Alex: (Politely chewing and swallowing first) "These are so, so good! Can I have another one? Can I have it for my snack tomorrow? (and the following day) "I wish I could have that for my snack every day!"
Anyway - here's what I concocted:
First, you'll need...
1 cup flour, 1 T baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 T sugar, and 1 tsp cinnamon - whisk these together to combine.
In a separate bowl, you want an egg and 3/4 cup of apple juice.
You also should start heating up your oil. You want it to come to 375 degrees F.
And finally, peel a Granny Smith apple, and remove the core. Dice it up into small pieces - 1/4 inch dice if you're really motivated, otherwise a bit bigger is okay.
Combine the flour mixture with the egg/juice mixture and blend into a nice batter. Stir in the diced apple and let it stand for about 15 minutes.
While the mixture stands and the oil heats up, get a plate with several layers of paper towels, a large slotted spoon, and a second plate with several layers of paper towels ready. And in a medium bowl, mix together some confectioners sugar and cinnamon. (I didn't use measurements - I used what was left of a bag of the sugar - maybe a pound, maybe less - and several good shakes of the cinnamon.)
Okay, when the oil is at the proper temperature, scoop about 1/4 cup of the batter at a time into your hot oil, until you have 4-6 fritters-in-the-making. Turn them over while they fry, so they brown evenly. When they're a nice dark golden brown, remove from the oil and place on one of the plates of paper towels to drain briefly. It's a good idea to cut one of them in half just to make sure they are cooked through. And then, of course, you should sample it to make sure these are palatable. Toss the whole fritters in the mixture of sugar and cinnamon and then place them on the other plate with paper towels. Keep them warm in either a low temp oven or a warming drawer (if your oven has one). Fry off the rest of the batter in batches, tossing in the sugar/cinnamon and holding them in a warm place until you're ready to serve.
I scooped some vanilla ice cream into a 4" ramekin and put the ramekin on a plate with two of the apple fritters and serve.
Try them - they're pretty yummy and pretty simple as well.