Thank You Pilgrim!

A chef's view on apples and an original recipe for Apple Cranberry Fritters.

Apples contribute more than 2 billion dollars to our national economy. Just as importantly though, they help contribute to a healthy diet. Apples contain valuable fiber and antioxidants, plus they are cholesterol and fat free.

It was the Pilgrims that first introduced the apple to the Americas. Today, over 2,500 varieties are grown in the USA. The value of the annual Massachusetts apple crop is nearly 22 million dollars. That adds up to a whole lot of apples.

With nearly 400 apple orchards in Massachusetts, virtually everyone has a local apple source just minutes away for fresh picked goodness.

If you’re planning a fall wedding in New England, what could be a more perfect and picturesque venue than an apple orchard? There are plenty of orchards in the area that would be more than willing to accommodate your event. Pepper’s Fine Catering has worked with a few of these orchards, including Carlson Orchards in Harvard and Red Apple Farm in Phillipston.

Making apple sauce, apple cake and apple crisp are terrific, mouth watering ways to add some apple to your seasonal enjoyment, but there are plenty of other creative ways to incorporate apples. Have you ever considered adding diced Granny Smith apples to a Lobster Salad with lemon mayonnaise & bacon? Oh, my! Play with that idea for a bit. Complementing the crunch of celery with the crisp tart apple is simply wonderful.

One of my favorite, simple apple treats is a variation on apple fritters. I say variation as I rarely repeat the exact recipe components. Sometimes it's the variety of apple I use, or sometimes it’s combining apple with dried cranberry, candied orange, candied lemon, or even candied ginger.

The variations are truly endless. Give the following recipe a try and be mindful to play with your food. 

For more info about our local apples, click here.

Apple Cranberry Fritters 

1/2 Cup.         Apple Jack or Calvados

1/3 Cup.         Half & Half

1 Stick.           Butter, unsalted

1 Tbsp.           Sugar

1/4 Cup.         Dried Cranberry, coarsely chopped

1 Tbsp.           Orange zest

1/4 Tsp.          Sea Salt or Kosher salt (omit if you have neither)

2 Cups.           Flour, unbleached all-purpose

5 Ea.               Eggs, large

1/2 Tsp.         Baking powder

2 Ea.               Cortland apples or your favorite

1 Qt.               Vegetable or canola oil


Combine the first 4 ingredients and bring to a boil. Add in the cranberry and let sit for a minute to soften, then mix in the flour. Follow the flour by adding the eggs, one at a time. Next, add the baking powder and lastly, the apples. You’re looking for a thick consistency like that of pancake batter.

Heat your vegetable oil to 360- 370 degrees and drop tablespoon size portions into the heated oil, with 5-7 per batch. Try not to overcrowd the oil. Turn the fritters over in the oil and cook until golden brown, about 1.5 - 2 minutes, and transfer to a paper towel lined pan. Dust immediately with sugar or a cinnamon-sugar blend (do this as soon as they come out of the hot oil, as the oil helps the mixture stick) and serve warm. These are terrific with a warm mug of mulled cider.

A pinch of Vietnamese cinnamon is a nice touch to add to the batter, as well. Vietnamese cinnamon, also known as Saigon cinnamon, has the highest concentration of essential oils out of all the cinnamon varieties. 



Photo credit: Paco lyptic

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