When homemade, doughnuts and fritters are the absolute best. They far surpass any "donut" shop doughnuts. When I'm in the mood for doughnuts but don't have the patience to wait for dough to rise, I like to make fritters. They fulfill my craving as fast as I can fry them. Their crispy fried exterior and fluffy interior are what make them a favorite sweet treat for many people. A batch of fritters is very easy to put together and they are great for any occasion. But they make a special treat for Hanukkah, which is celebrated with fried foods like latkes and fritters.
The interesting thing about fritters is that you can find versions of them in many cultures throughout Europe, Asia, and South America. Greeks have Loukoumades, which are balls of fried dough doused in honey syrup. The French have beignets. Italians have zeppole. In Spain and Latin America there are buñuelos. In India there are gulab jamun, balls soaked in spiced sugar syrup. In the United States you can find apple fritter rings, which look just like doughnuts. I'd like to think it possible that the original recipe for fritters made its way through all the different cultures, who then adapted it to their liking.
This recipe combines the best of all of the international fritters. Diced tart apples are folded into a cinnamon batter. Once fried, the fritters are drizzled with honey syrup. In one bite you get sweet succulence and a bit of fruity tartness. The recipe can be put together in minutes. Fry the fritters to order to keep them as fresh as possible. Keep the syrup warm so it remains liquid. Drizzle the fritters just before serving them to eagerly awaiting family and friends. Apple fritters are definitely a dessert worth celebrating with.
Apple Fritters with Honey Syrup
for the apple fritters:
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoon butter, melted
3/4 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
canola oil, for frying
for the honey syrup:
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 small cinnamon stick
Toss together diced apples with lemon zest and juice in a small bowl to keep from browning.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Mix together with a whisk to aerate.
Combine melted butter, milk, eggs, and vanilla in a small bowl and beat together. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in diced apples.
Warm 1 to 2 inches of oil in a large pot set over medium-high heat. The temperature of the oil should register around 350 degrees F. Test with a drop of batter.
In the meantime, make the honey syrup. Combine honey, water, and cinnamon stick in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Simmer on low until slightly reduced, about 5 to 10 minutes.
To make the fritters, using a 1-1/2-inch releasable scoop, drop dollops of the batter into the hot oil. Using tongs or a fork, turn the fitters so that all sides brown, but they should turn themselves. Fry, in batches, until golden brown all around, about 3 to 5 minutes. Remove to a tray lined with paper towels to drain. Serve drizzled with honey syrup. Yield: about 32 apple fritters.