Jacques Pepin’s Apple Fritters
Here’s the simple approach to making killer apple fritters, the full monty, system-killer variety. You can try it difficult or you can try it simple. I prefer simple.
When I was the producer of the Larry King show in Washington, D.C., I had the pleasure of meeting Jacques Pepin, and then interviewing him several times. Each time he brought wonderful foods with him to share with us and to talk about. It being radio, it was pointless to demonstrate cooking techniques, so rather he simply brought with him those things about which he would talk, and let our enthusiasm for the food carry the narrative. Needless to say, he was one of our most requested guests. Radio carries with it such a strong component of conjuring up visions in each listener’s imagination that a wonderful man like Jacques and his sensory-overload recipes played incredibly well on the radio. Try to imagine Jacques Pepin discussing the making of apple fritters in his inimitable charming French accent and his over-the-top personality.
Serves 4 to 6 (makes about 12 fritters)
Apple fritters sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar and eaten piping hot are simplicity itself. The fruit can be cut into sticks or slices or fan shapes and dipped into the batter and fried, or it can be coarsely chopped or cut into julienne.
If you are making the fritters ahead, be sure to cook them until they are crisp and well browned. Then reheat and recrisp them in a toaster oven or under the broiler just before serving them heavily dusted with sugar.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1 cup ice-cold water
1 pound apples (any variety; about 3)
1 cup canola oil
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
Vigorously mix the flour, egg, and 1/3 cup of the water in a bowl with a whisk. The mixture will be fairly thick. When it is smooth, add the remaining
2/3 cup water and mix again until the water is incorporated and the batter is thin and smooth.
One at a time, stand the unpeeled apples upright on a cutting board and cut each one vertically into 1/2-inch-thick slices, stopping when you reach the core; pivot the apple and cut again, and repeat until only the core remains. Stack the apple slices and cut them into 1/2-inch-thick sticks. (You should have 4 cups.) Stir the apple sticks into the batter.
Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet. When it is hot, pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into the pan for each fritter, making 4 or 5 at a time. Using two forks, spread the batter out so the fritters are no more than 1/2 inch thick. Cook for about 4 minutes on one side, until brown and crisp, then turn and cook for about 3 minutes on the other side. Drain the fritters on a wire rack. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Sprinkle the fritters liberally with the sugar and serve.