I associate apple fritters with my biological father, Hank. Toward the end of his life, I only saw Hank once a year when I would go to Vancouver to visit my sister. At that time, he did not have a phone or internet, so you just had to show up at this apartment building and hope that he was there. We would walk to his favourite bakery, the last holdover in a now gleaming neighborhood from a humbler era. It was a tiny place, with one glass case full of bear claws, apple fritters and jelly donuts. You exchanged a couple of dollars for a small greasy bag of donut goodness over a small Formica counter. The proprietress was an elderly Chinese woman with whom my father liked to flirt. Hank liked to flirt with old ladies. This was a man who, in his youth, had managed to seduce three of the smartest and most beautiful women I know (the mothers of my brother, sister and myself). So even as a scruffy old guy his powers of flirtation were strong. Visiting the bakery lady was a sweet outlet for his charismatic and mischevious impulses.
We would continue to walk, slowly, in whatever direction Hank dictated, while he informed me about the history of various parks around Vancouver, his theories about the future of world politics (all frighteningly accurate with a few years hindsight) and stories about his various encounters with ghosts. Hank passed away near Halloween in 2010. My sister and I agreed that it was just like our father to go at the time of year when the veil between the living and the dead is thought to be the thinnest.
- 1/2 cup millet flour
- 1/4 cup mochi flour (also known as sweet rice flour or glutinous rice flour)
- 1/4 cup tapioca flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup apple, peeled, cored and finely diced (1 small apple)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tbs cinnamon
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 room temperature eggs
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest (the zest of 1/2 lemon)
- 1 and 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or the seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
- sunflower oil or vegetable oil, for frying
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl.
- In another small bowl mix together the granulated sugar and cinnamon
- Peel and core your apple. Finely dice it into small 1/4″ pieces. Toss the diced apple with 1 Tablespoon of the sugar cinnamon mixture.
- Whisk together ricotta, eggs, maple syrup, lemon zest and vanilla in another bowl. Stir in the flour mixture and then fold in the apples.
- Heat about 2 inches of oil to deep fry in. I like to test the oil with a small drop of batter. It should foam up, but not violently. If your oil gets too hot at any point the quickest way to cool it down is to add more oil. Working in batches (I do about 6 at a time), gently drop in heaping tablespoons of batter and fry, turning occasionally, until deep golden. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Test the first few that make to be sure that you are cooking them all the way through. If they are getting too dark on the outside, but are still raw in the center the oil is too hot.
- Roll each drained fritter in the remaining cinnamon and granulated sugar mixture to coat it completely. These are best in the few hours after they are made, but are still good the next day with coffee or tea.
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