Saturday, June 9, 2012

Buckwheat Apple Pan Fritters

I have fond memories associated with apple fritters. Not the yeast-based brick of deep fried dough with a tablespoon of dried fruit you can find at the doughnut shop, but the "real deal" - rings of fresh apple dipped in almost a tempura-like batter and deep fried just until done. When we'd go to pick apples every fall, the farmstand was making them to order. There was no extra batter on the fruit, they weren't greasy or heavy, and they never sat around longer than it took to get them into your mouth without scorching yourself.

Of course, those fritters may have been based on a nutritious and perfectly ripe option, but they were still encased in white flour, white sugar and (of course) super-hot oil - given the times back then, it also could very well have been lard! A single brown bag of (maybe) 4 or 5 rings would easily run about 190 calories and 9 grams of fat, not exactly a step to your 10 a day. I guess the comforting fact is that those bakery style ones are worse - 300 calories and 11 grams of fat in each greasy (yet admittedly delicious) ball. But I loved them all the same and wanted to try and recapture that feeling in a less "bad for you" setting.

When I found this recipe last year I couldn't get it out of my head. It made so much sense! Slice an apple or two, add it to a pancake batter and make pancakes instead - no need to mess around with deep fryers, oil temperature, draining and filtering the oil... not to mention saving yourself a good amount of calories and fat and trading it for a few more nutrients. For my own sake (and because mom was helping me taste test), I opted for a gluten free and vegan, low fat batter made with a mix of whole-grain buckwheat flour and ground flaxseeds (mom loves buckwheat pancakes!). I kept things very appley with apple cider and added a touch of Canadiana with dark, rich maple syrup. Only half peeling the apples lent a great texture and even more nutrients, perfectly creating just the  slightest crisp shell and tender middle. Of course, we drizzled on a bit more maple syrup after the fact, but chunky applesauce would have been tasty too!

I'm going to submit this breakfast / snack / dessert goodness to Ricki for her Wellness Weekend - you should go check it out!

Buckwheat Apple Pan Fritters
Serves 4
2 large apples, peeled in alternating ribbons "stem to stern" (AKA vertically)
1 cup dark buckwheat flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup pure apple cider (not alcoholic)
2 tbsp dark amber maple syrup
1 tbsp canola oil or coconut oil, for cooking
Dark amber maple syrup, for serving (optional)
  1. Using a mandoline, slice each apple into even, thin rings (I suggest no more than 4-5mm thick). Place into a bowl of lemon water to stop browning while preparing the batter.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon and flaxseed.
  3. Add the apple cider and maple syrup and whisk to make a smooth batter.
  4. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan over medium-low heat and add the oil.
  5. Pat apple slices dry and dip in the batter, evenly coating both sides.
  6. Add to the hot pan and cook until batter is crisp on the underside and the apple is halfway cooked, about 5 minutes.
  7. Flip slices and cook on the other side until the batter is crispy and the apple is fork-tender.
  8. Serve immediately with a drizzle of syrup if desired.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 198.9
Total Fat: 1.8 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 4.1 mg
Total Carbs: 44.7 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.5 g
Protein: 4.4 g