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Apple Beignets: Won’t keep the doctor away

Two apple beignets with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Two apple beignets with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

I would have to say that my favourite fruit is pineapple.  But only in a one-bite Pepsi taste test kind of way.  It’s too sweet to eat every day (though I tried while I lived in residence during my undergrad days) and definitely not convenient enough for midday snacking. So, if I were forced to commit to one fruit for the rest of my life it would have to be apples.  Apples are healthy, come in a variety of delicious flavours, and are extremely convenient.  Consider that my way of explaining this third post about apples in two weeks.

The idea of making apple beignets (I’m told “beignets” translates literally as “little donuts” or more loosely as “fritters”) came from reading that they are a specialty of Barberian’s, one of Toronto’s best steakhouses.  They seem like the kind of thing that would go just as excellently with a dinner featuring fried dill pickles and fried whole chickens as they do with a steak.  They’re also one of the few deep fried desserts I can think of–deep-fried Mars bars have been popularly demanded for next time.

The batter

The batter

The recipe came from the food blog folkmann.ca and the most significant modification I made to the original was substituting buttermilk (left over from both the pickles and the chicken) for half of the milk.  This substitution added a pleasant and not overwhelming tang to the crust and because egg whites are the batter’s only leavener the extra acid in the buttermilk did not have any chemical effects–that I know of. My other modification was to double the recipe.  Aim for two apple slices per person and expect to get four slices from a medium-sized apple and maybe five or six from a larger one.  As with all baking applications apples with some tartness do better and for this recipe spherical apples (like McIntoshes) will probably do better than the ones with a tapered base (like Red Delicious) because they will produce more evenly-sized slices.

The process is simple: mix the batter; core, peel and slice the apples into 1/2-inch discs; and then dip and fry.  A unique feature of this recipe is that while the batter rests for an  hour the apple slices macerate in a bit of rum and sugar and that added flavour does (subtly) make itself known.

The sliced apples macerate in rum and sugar for at least an hour

The sliced apples macerate in rum and sugar for at least an hour

I had a limited amount of success using a skewer to hold the apple slices while they were dipped in the batter and to deliver them to the oil.  I was unable to get the slices to slide one at a time from the skewer into the oil and this caused them to stick together a bit.  The best solution is probably to use a pair of tongs to move the slices from the skewer to the fryer.  This may not be a concern for most readers who try this recipe out but I was happy to find that the oil in the deep fryer didn’t carry any of the flavour from the dill pickles or chickens.  And like the first two courses of our meal the beignets were definitely a success; the fried batter was crispy and delicious and there is nothing quite like the sweet and tart flavour of cooked apples as summer draws to a close and the evenings really begin to cool.

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Posted in: Dessert, Entertaining, Frying.

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