Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Yeasted Apple Fritters
As newlyweds, our first home was an L-shaped apartment in the basement of six flat on the south side of Chicago. Papa and Mama S. owned the building. They were German Jews who immigrated to this country in 1939. They came into our lives during a period of wrenching dislocation in the South Shore and Hyde Park neighborhoods of Chicago. Whole blocks of apartments emptied as white-flight from the city accelerated. The building on Paxton Avenue was Papa's Alamo. Having been forced from one home, he refused to leave this one on any terms other than his own. The price he paid was loneliness. Most of his friends had gone. To break the monotony, he'd shuffle down the stairs to meet me when I returned from school in the afternoon. We'd gossip over coffee and snack on something sweet, usually donuts or fritters as I couldn't bankroll much more than that. I wish I could make these fritters for him; he'd love them warm, coated with cinnamon sugar and dunked into a cup of his strong, very sweet - "four sugar, please" - coffee; I'd love to see him smile again.
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 large egg, beaten
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup finely diced apples
Oil for deep frying
Topping: cinnamon sugar, confectioners' sugar
1) Pour warm water into a medium bowl. Stir in yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes to soften.
2) Stir in egg, sugar, oil, vanilla and salt. Stir in flour. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
3) Punch dough down and mix in apples.
4) Heat oil to 375 degrees F. Use a soup or table-serving spoon to drop batter, four spoonfuls per batch, into oil. Fry until golden brown. Drain on paper toweling. Roll in cinnamon sugar, then sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Serve warm. Yield: 12 fritters.