These seasonally spiced fritters are made by dipping apple or pear rings – cross-section slices of the whole fruit – in a simple batter and frying them in canola oil, making them perfect for Hanukkah festivities. While jam-filled doughnuts are more traditional, using whole fruit is a healthier alternative, and makes them reminiscent of apple pie; if you want to cook them in olive oil, the flavor complements the fruit – use a light olive oil rather than darker green, more intensely flavored extra-virgin.
The simple batter can be whisked together using any number of liquids; bubbly club soda will produce a light batter, and ginger ale will add sweetness. Slice the fruit fairly thinly, so that it cooks through, and don’t bother peeling it. One fruit will produce many “doughnuts” – besides being easy an delicious, this is an inexpensive recipe to make if you need to feed a crowd.
Apple or Pear “Doughnuts”
If you’re not fussed about the doughnut shape, the fruit can be thinly sliced into wedges, dipped and fried that way instead.
1-2 tart apples or ripe but firm pears
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup club soda, ginger ale or beer
canola oil, for frying
powdered sugar, for sprinkling
Slice your apples (unpeeled) into rings about 1/4″ thick and cut out the cores from the middle, making a ring. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger ale or beer to make a thin batter it should have the consistency of cream.
In a wide pot, heat an inch or two of canola oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. (You’ll know it’s ready when a scrap of bread held into the oil bubbles around it.) Dip a few slices of apple at a time into the batter, coating them completely, then gently slip into the oil. Cook a couple at a time for a minute or two, flipping with tongs as necessary, until golden. (If they are cooking too quickly, turn the heat down if it’s taking too long, the oil may need to be hotter. Don’t crowd the pot, or it will bring the temperature of the oil down.)
Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to paper towels to drain. Once cool enough to handle and eat, sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar. Makes lots.