No, you don’t *have* to use crabapples for these – it’s officially apple season, and the markets abound with bins of crisp, flavourful apples – and just about any would do well here. But they do make good use of tart crabapples, which don’t need to be peeled – just slice off their cheeks, chop them a bit more if they’re big, and let the soft, sweet dough offset their tartness. It’s a delicious use for those apples that might otherwise compost themselves on your lawn.
There are many ways to make an apple fritter, and a sticky, wet, cakey batter (like this one) would definitely be easier: stir chopped apples into the batter, drop in hot oil, and voilà – cakey apple fritters. But I’m a fan of the soft yeast doughnut, and so I’m willing, if I’m going to eat fried dough, to spend the extra time letting it rise, and working the apples in.
This is the tricky, messy part. Sautéing the apples first with some brown sugar makes them a bit squishy, so you kind of have to fold the dough over the apples (plenty of recipes sprinkle the apples with flour, to make them more grippy) a few times.
Here’s how: roll out an oval or rectangle, spread the apples over half, fold the dough over and pinch it closed, and roll the dough again. Fold it over itself and shape it into a kind of rough log – the good news here is you’re not aiming for any sort of perfection – and cut it with a knife or bench scraper in one direction, then the other. Essentially you’re chopping it all into bits.
You then gather the scraps of dough and apples into little piles, flatten them into rough patties, and let them sit for a bit while you heat up some oil. Don’t worry at all about how they look – it’s these rough, nubbly edges that make them look the way apple fritters look. The key is to make sure the apple bits are more or less trapped in the dough, so that they don’t escape out into the oil as you cook them. You’ll get the hang of it. (And no need for a deep fryer – I just use an old enamel coated cast iron pot!)
Note: drizzle the glaze over your doughnuts while they’re still hot, and it will kind of melt onto the surface like a traditional doughnut shop apple fritter. If you wait a bit, the glaze will be fine but more opaque.