It is amazing the amount of information we can find on the Internet - and surprisingly amazing disappointing at lack of other information. I am speaking about apple fritters. Not apple rings... big, luscious apple fritters. So I read about donuts and slept on it a few days and here is what I came up with.
Please be respectful of your hot oil. I can't teach common sense, but keep your fingers out of it, and for goodness sake, don't "drop" your fritters into it, as this may splash hot oil onto you. When all else fails, read the manufacturer's instructions.
Apple Cider Fritters (makes 16)
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup sugar (divided)
4 1/2 tsp yeast
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (divided)
4 small Macintosh apples, diced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
11 Tbsp butter (room temperature)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp cinnamon
peanut oil (for frying)
1 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 - 1/3 cup water
Bring apple cider and 1/4 cup sugar to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and cool to 115 degrees F. Sprinkle yeast over and stir slightly. Let dissolve 5 minutes then stir in 1 cup of flour. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let sponge develop for 1 hour.
Mix lemon juice with 3 cups water. Dice the apples into 1/4-1/2" chunks and place in the acidulated water.
Mix together the butter, 1/4 cup remaining sugar, eggs, vanilla, salt and lemon zest until well blended. Stir this into the sponge until well incorporated. Sift together the remaining flour and cinnamon. Drain the apples and pat dry. Slowly fold the flour and apples into the sponge. (You do not want to over stir as this will develop too much gluton and the fritters will be too dense.)
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a tea towel. Let rise at room temperature until more than doubled (around 3 hours). Place in 1 gallon zipper bag and squeeze out the air. Refrigerate overnight.
Remove the bag from the refrigerator and divide the dough into 16 equal portions on parchment paper. Let the fritters rest for about 1 hour.
Heat oil to 375 degrees F. Place cooling rack over waxed paper.
Mix glaze. Sift the confectioner's flour into a cereal bowl and add enough water to make a thin glaze, mixing with a fork.
Using a metal spatula, dip the spatula into the hot oil for about 10 seconds, then use the spatula to pick up the fritter and carefully slide it into the hot oil.
The fritters will take about 7 minutes to cook through. Half way through (3 1/2 minutes) turn over the fritter and cook on the second aside. Use tongs to remove the fritters from the oil, allowing the oil to drip back into the pot before draining on three layers of paper toweling, blotting both sides. Dip the presentation side of the fritter into the glaze and place, glaze side up, on the rack to drip and cool.
I took my fritters up to happy hour to share with my friends and get their opinions. These had very good reviews... but then everyone was enjoying happy hour ;-)