These are the kind of apple fritters you'd get at the very best kind of doughnut shop - soft yeast raised dough with a hint of nutmeg and orange, buttery cinnamon coated apples, and crackly maple glaze.
This recipe includes instructions for letting the apple fritters rise overnight so you can fry them up in the morning and enjoy them at their best - warm, fresh, and dripping with maple glaze.
Yeast Raised Apple Fritters with an Overnight Rise
There are two ways of making apple fritters. One method involves a quick, baking powder dough that takes about 20 minutes to make and requires no time to rise. Just whip up the batter, fry them in oil, and you're done.
The second method produces the kind of apple fritter you'd expect from a really great doughnut shop.
Buttery, yeast risen dough combined with soft, cinnamon apples into craggily fried doughnuts that are crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. That's the kind of apple fritters these are.
Over the past 6 weeks or so, I've made more batches of each kind of apple fritter than I can count. And, while I'm still working to make a quick batter version that I really love, these yeast risen fritters are perfection on a plate.
The Best Homemade Apple Fritters Start with Really Good Yeast Dough
This apple fritter recipe uses the same dough as my favorite dinner roll recipe.
In my family, when you say "those rolls", we all know what you're talking about because I've been using the same recipe for years to make the BEST rolls.
One day, I decided to use the dough to make cinnamon rolls and now that is the only way I make cinnamon rolls. Since then, I've used the dough to make sticky buns, old fashioned glazed doughnuts, cinnamon bread, and doughnut holes.
And now, apple fritters.
The dough is soft, buttery, slightly sweet, incredibly simple to make and so easy to work with. It's one of the most used recipes in my repertoire.
An Overnight Rise is Essential to Homemade Doughnuts in the Morning
For yeast-risen treats that I want to eat in the morning, an overnight rise is essential because, call me crazy, but I'm not a fan of getting up at 3 am to get the dough going.
Thankfully, these apple fritters rise beautifully in the refrigerator overnight which means you can prepare the fritters the night before you want to eat them.
All you have to do in the morning is let the fritters sit out on the counter for bit to bring the dough back up to room temperature, fry them, glaze them, and eat them.
Tips for Making the Best Apple Fritters:
- Chop the apples very small - about the size of a pea. Chopping the apples any larger makes it difficult to get them to stay in the dough.
- Lower the fritters into the hot oil on parchment paper "plates". Let the fritters rise on parchment covered baking sheets. Then, rather than trying to lift them off the parchment without squeezing any air from the perfectly risen dough, just cut around the bottom of each fritter so that each one is resting on it's own little parchment paper "plate". Lower the fritter into the hot oil parchment and all. Then, just use metal tongs to lift away the parchment paper, which will come away from the dough easily.
- A fry thermometer is a must! While frying the fritters, it's important to keep the oil between 350 and 360 degrees. If the temperature of the oil is too low, the fritters will absorb too much oil, becoming heavy and greasy. But, if the oil is too hot, the outside of the fritters will burn before the inside is cooked through. The only real way to monitor the oil temperature as you cook the fritters is with a fry thermometer.
- Fry two fritters at a time - no more. If you add too many fritters to the oil at once, they'll stick together and be difficult to flip over. It's much, much easier to just work with two fritters at a time.
- Use Granny Smith Apples. Granny Smith Apples are perfect for baking because they have such a bright, tart flavor AND they hold up really well under hot temperatures. Other varieties have a tendency to get a bit mushy when cooked.
- Shaping apple fritters is messy. Embrace the mess and just have fun with it.
- Glaze them while they're warm. Pouring the maple glaze over the fritters while they're still warm results in that gorgeous doughnut shop crackly glaze.
How to Shape Apple Fritters
Making apple fritters is gloriously messy and fun. Embrace the mess and enjoy the process.
Roll the dough out into a large rectangle, spread the center will the apple filling, and roll it up into a big, sloppy log.
Then, chop. Using a dough scraper (or a metal spatula), chop the log from one side to the next into thin strips of dough. Then, keep chopping until you have a pile of small pieces of dough and cinnamon sugar apples.
Scoop up a handful of dough, press it together in your hands, and dump it out onto a parchment covered baking sheet.
All those little pieces of dough pressed together is what gives apple fritters their unique pull-apart consistency and craggy surface that's perfect for capturing as much maple glaze as possible.
I mean... apples and maple syrup. Do I really even need to say any more?
While creating this recipe, I tried all sorts of things with the glaze. I added apple cider - which you'd think would be delicious, but not so much. I added orange zest to a batch and lemon zest to another - both are too citrusy for fritters.
I used honey instead of syrup - tasty, but kind of bland. I tried it with molasses and sorghum syrup - also tasty, but the flavor is too strong and overpowers the taste of the apples in the fritters.
A simple glaze made with pure maple syrup, powdered sugar, and vanilla and almond extract was our favorite, hands down. Glazing the fritters right after frying them results in that crackly, sweet, doughnut shop glaze that's sooooo good over warm, sweet, dough.
The same dough used to make these Apple Fritters is also used to make:
- Homemade Dinner Rolls
- Homemade Cinnamon Rolls
- Homemade Caramel Rolls
- Homemade Cinnamon Bread
- Yeast Raised Doughnuts
- Doughnut Holes Filled with Salted Caramel Pastry Cream
If you give this recipe a try, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, or take a picture and tag it #ofbatteranddough on Instagram.
For the dough:
- 2 cups (16oz) whole milk, at room temperature, between 75 and 85 degrees F (24-30 degrees C)
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 3½ teaspoon (10.5g) active dry yeast
- 1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, slightly beaten
- 6 tablespoon (3oz) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 6 cups (720g) all purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 teaspoon salt
- Vegetable oil for frying
For the apple filling:
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 Granny Smith apples
- 2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
For the maple glaze:
- 3 cups (340g) powdered sugar
- a pinch of salt
- ¾ - 1 cup (8-11oz) pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
Make the dough:
- Pour the milk into the bowl of a standing mixer, and sprinkle in the sugar and yeast. Stir to combine and then let sit for about 5 minutes to let the yeast begin to come alive. Whisk in the egg, egg yolk, melted butter, vanilla and orange zest.
- Fit your mixer with the dough hook, add 5 cups (600g) of the all-purpose flour and the nutmeg and mix on medium-low speed until the dough begins to come together.
- Slowly add enough of the remaining cup of flour so that the dough comes together into a soft, slightly sticky ball. Depending on the humidity in the air, this might take the entire remaining cup or only a bit of it. What you’re looking for is a soft, smooth ball of dough that clings to the dough hook, does not stick to the sides of the bowl, but does stick slightly to the bottom of the bowl. If you stop the mixer and touch the dough, it should feel slightly sticky, but not so wet as to be confused with cookie dough.
- Once the dough has come together, sprinkle in the salt. Let the mixer knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes. The dough should look very soft and smooth.
- Butter a large bowl and dump the dough into the bowl. Butter a piece plastic wrap (or spray with non-stick spray) and use it to cover the bowl. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
While the dough rises, make the apple filling:
- Add the lemon juice to a medium size saucepan. Peel, core, and dice the apples into pieces about the size of a pea. As you chop the apples, add them to the saucepan and toss them around in the lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
- Add the rest of the filling ingredients to the saucepan. Stir to mix and set over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the apples are soft and the liquid in the pan is thick and syrupy, about 15-20 minutes.
- Scrape the filling into a bowl and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Shape the fritters and let them rise:
- Cover two large baking sheets with parchment paper and set nearby.
- Dump the dough out onto a clean work surface and roll it into a square that's approximatly 16 inches. Spread the apple filling over the dough and roll the whole thing up into a very loose log.
- Using a dough scrapper or the edge of a metal spatula, chop the dough from one end of the log to the other into pieces that are no bigger than 1-inch wide.
- Push the pieces of dough into a sloppy mound in the center of your workspace and continue to chop the dough every which way, so that you have a gooey pile of small pieces of dough and apple filling.
- Use your hands to scoop up a palm sized portion of dough and apples. Gently press the dough together in your hands and lay it down on one of the parchment covered baking sheet. Continue with the rest of the dough, leaving at least 4 inches in between fritters on the baking sheets. This is a messy job - so have fun with it!
- Spray a couple of sheets of plastic wrap with non-stick spray and cover the fritters. Let rise at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until nearly doubled in bulk. OR - place the sheets of fritters in the refrigerator to rise for up to 12 hours.
Make the Maple Glaze:
- Put the powdered and salt in a medium size bowl and add ¾ cup (8oz) maple syrup and the vanilla and almond extracts. Stir until smooth. Add more maple syrup if necessary to create a consistency similar to cream. Cover and set aside.
Fry the fritters:
- If the dough has been rising in the refrigerator, let the sheets of apple fritters sit out on the counter for about 1 hour to allow the dough to come to room temperature.
- Pour enough vegetable oil into a large, deep saucepan to come up the sides 3 or 4 inches. Heat the oil to 350 - 360 degrees F (176-182 degrees C). Cover a baking sheet or serving platter with a few sheets of paper towels and set it near the stovetop.
- Cut the parchment around two of the fritters so that it extends around the fritter by a couple of inches. Using a spatula, lower the fritters into the hot oil one at a time, parchment and all. Using metal tongs, gently lift the edge of the parchment paper, flipping the fritter over in the hot oil, and lifting the paper away.
- Cooke the fritters for about 3-4 minutes on each side, until they are a deep golden brown. Do your best to keep the oil temperature between 350 and 360 degrees F (176-182 degrees C). Using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the fritters to the paper towel lined platter.
- Within 1-2 minutes of the fritters coming out of the hot oil, drizzle the tops with a generous amount of maple glaze.
- Repeat with the remaining fritters.
- Apple fritters are best served soon after frying.
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Nordic Ware Natural Aluminum Commercial Baker's Half Sheet, 2-Pack, Silver
KitchenAid RKP26M1XBX Professional 600 Series Refurbished 6 Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer, 6 Qt, Bordeaux (Renewed)
OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Scraper & Chopper
Polder Candy/Jelly/Deep Fry Thermometer Stainless Steel with Pot Clip
Nutrition Information:Yield: 16 Serving Size: 1 fritter
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 420Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 26mgSodium: 391mgCarbohydrates: 78gFiber: 3gSugar: 39gProtein: 7g