While other 1970’s suburban moms baked all-American pies, my mother, Nina, had more decadent intentions for our annual autumn apple surplus. True, she made a mean lemon-glazed apple coffee cake. But to this day, my favorite way to transform apples into dessert form is to … wait for it… fry them. Apple Fritters, aka Frittelle di Mele, make for a wonderful fall breakfast or snack, and in parts of northern Italy, they’re even served as an accompaniment to savory pork dishes.
Like many Italians, mom wasn’t a huge fan of cinnamon, so these yummy little doughnuts were finished off simply, in one of two ways. They were either dusted with powdered sugar, which made them messy and awesome, or dredged in granulated sugar, which made them crunchy and sticky and awesome. I would hover impatiently as she fried (in olive oil, what else?) and basically would stuff them into my mouth the moment they cooled enough to not cause injury.
If you’ve had your fill of the usual candied/caramelled/crisp/pie scenario this year, treat yourself to a batch of these cuties.
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbs sugar
1 cup powdered or caster sugar, for dusting
3 large apples, any type
1 tablespoon oil
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups mild olive oil, for frying
Place the flour, egg, milk, sugar, baking powder, oil and flour in a bowl, and whisk together until smooth.
Peel the apples, core them and slice them into 1/4 inch thick slices. Dip the apple slices into the batter and make sure they’re evenly coated.
In a large, heavy skillet heat the oil to a sizzling 375 degrees. Drop the battered apples in, four or five at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes or so on each side, until brown and crisp.
Drain the fritters on paper towels, and transfer them to a rack. Sprinkle generously with the sugar (and cinnamon, if you like), and serve immediatamente.
Variation: Using a box grater, grate the peeled apples into long shreds and mix into the batter. Drop by spoonfuls into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Cover in sugar, etc.
Either version makes about 12 frittelle.