I love homemade doughnuts, but don’t often make them. And when I think about it, when I do make them it’s the small pieces I end up picking at and nibbling – the holes and the scraps, with interesting shapes and lots of craggy edges and crispy bits. Which is why I’ve decided that for the aforementioned reasons, and the fact that the vast majority of the population does not own a doughnut cutter, fritters are the way to go. In fact, fritters are a quick alternative to muffins, quickbreads and all manner of breakfast baking; the batter takes a few minutes to mix up, and there’s no need to preheat the oven – the fritters themselves cook in just a few minutes, not 20 or 30.
I can justify most morning baked (and fried) goods. Making them saves time!
When most of us think of fritters, we default to those sticky, bigger-than-doughnuts apple ones you see at coffee shops, or the corn fritters that come with fried chicken. These ones are small, two bites big, made with ricotta for a smooth, creamy dough, and coarsely grated apples which get more evenly distributed and make for a slightly shaggy fritter. Drop the dough in small spoonfuls – I like to scoop them from the side of the spoon, running up the side of the bowl so that it runs the length of the spoon and makes a slightly long shape that cooks through more quickly. No perfection required here – the wonkier the better.
Of course I made these as part of our ongoing celebration of Apple Month – in the bleak midwinter, there aren’t many local fresh fruit options out there, and it’s nice to have a supply from the growers next door. Any apple will work in these – I tend to go for more tart varieties in baked goods; like dark chocolate in cookies, their flavour is more pronounced, but use whatever you like or happen to have in the fruit bowl.
I grate them using the coarse side of a box grater, and never bother to peel them first – why add an extra step and lose most of the fibre and nutrients? You eat the skin of apples anyway, so I don’t see why I should ever get rid of it. (I keep the skins on in apple pies, too.)
Don’t these look like sweet pakoras?
You could add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice or cardamom, but I like the flavour of the apples and ricotta. All they need once they come out of their oil bath is a shower of icing sugar before you serve them, still warm. Set the pan in the middle of the kitchen table, pour some coffee, and invite some of your favourite people to hang out. This is my idea of time well spent.
*Thanks to BC Tree Fruits for asking me to help celebrate Apple Month – watch for a new apple recipe every Friday in February!