In the small hometown where I grew up there was one big attraction: Der Dutchman Restaurant. A favorite of tourists and locals alike, it’s basically a carb lovers dream. If I had one word to describe Der Dutchman, it would be hearty. And also freaking delicious…but I guess that’s two words, so it doesn’t really count.
Their breakfast buffets are a dreamy combination of pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage gravy and biscuits, french toast, ham, and bacon. Then there’s the donuts. Oh, the donuts. Puffy Long John’s covered in maple cream. Swirl donuts with crinkly sugar glaze. And apple fritters. Holy moly, the apple fritters.
By far my favorite of any of the donuts, the apple fritters at Der Dutchman are as big as your face, stuffed with chunks of apple, covered in glaze, and filled with pockets of deep fried joy. So. freaking. good.
I never in a million years thought I would make them at home. But when I found a recipe for them in an old Mennonite cookbook, I decided I have to give them a try. I mean really, what better way could I spend a morning than dropping piles of sweet, apple dough into hot oil and waiting for them to transform into a golden, puffy, crispy pillows of goodness? (The answer is: there is no better way. Clearly.)
These really were way easier to make than I ever imagined. The dough just takes a few short minutes to assemble. After a trip through the fryer, the dough is tender and just slightly chewy and the outside crisped and craggled, leaving plenty of pockets perfect for filling with a sweet brown butter glaze.
Oh, yeah…the brown butter glaze. Did I not mention the brown butter glaze?
The glaze takes the fritters from good to dear-Lord-in-heaven-help-me-I-can’t-stop-eating-these. Nooks and crannies. Brown butter glaze. It doesn’t get much better than that.
A few tips for your own fritter adventure:
These need to be eaten pretty quickly after frying or they begin to lose their crispiness. If you can’t serve them right away, I recommend leaving the glaze off then placing them in the oven (at about 350 degrees) for 10-15 minutes to crisp and warm them again before adding the glaze and serving. If you want a more traditional fritter glaze, use a classic powdered sugar and milk or cider mixture. The powdered sugar glaze will dry and give you a classic crispy glazed donut texture. The browned butter mixture is really more like a syrup than a glaze, which I actually really enjoyed, but you do your own thing!
Next time I think I’ll try apple cider in place of the milk just to amp up the apple flavor, but if you happen to be hoarding cider all to yourself and wouldn’t dream of pouring it into anything but your mouth, I understand. Fall does crazy things to people. Like make them eat 6 apple fritters in one day.
Small fritters, of course…and most likely calorie-less. Yeah, I’m sticking with that.
Need more fried sugary doughy goodness? Well look no further than my Asian buffet style Chinese Donuts!
Apple Fritters with Brown Butter Glaze
Recipe by NeighborFoodBlog.com
Yield: About 36 smallish fritters
For the fritters:
3 cups flour
4 Tablespoons sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk, plus more if needed
6 medium apples, cored and chopped (I left some peeled and others unpeeled and both worked out fine)
48 oz. vegetable or canola oil, for frying
For the sauce:
2 Tablespoons butter
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Tablespoons cornstarch
1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add eggs and milk and stir until a dough begins to form. If the mixture is too dry, add additional milk, 1 Tablespoon at a time until it comes together. Stir in apples.
2. Heat oil in a large heavy bottomed pot to 350 degrees. Line a pan with paper towels. Once the oil is hot, drop about 1/4 cup of the dough mixture into the hot oil. Repeat 2 or 3 more times until the pot is full. Cook dough for about 3 minutes, flip and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Use a slotted spoon to remove fritters from the pot and place on the paper towels. Allow oil to get back up to temperature and then repeat with remaining dough.
3. For the glaze, place butter in a medium sized pot and heat over medium heat until butter is browned and bits of brown butter are visible. Add water and bring mixture to a boil. Mix sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch together. Stir into boiling water. Pour over fritters and serve immediately.