Apple doughnuts….Yum!

December 2011, pg. 123

Apple Fritter Done

Apple Fritter Rings recipe

The apple fritter rings were a hit!  I made them Sunday morning for my parents and P.  Everyone was excited about apple fritters, but I had a three sets of eyes staring at the apple rings.  “Don’t apple fritters have chopped apple in them?”  I must admit, I’ve never seen apple fritter rings before but, I was pretty excited to try them.  Yes, they were fried but the dough to fruit ratio was very favorable in my eyes.

I used an apple corer for the first time and it worked like a charm.  I also used powdered buttermilk and put a ¼ cup less of water than what the directions called for.  I finally learned my lesson with powdered buttermilk: You don’t need as much water as the directions call for.

Enlarged center holes on bottom.

Enlarged center holes on bottom.

I recruited P to fry the fritters for us.  Hot oil and I don’t get along.  In hind sight having two people make the fritters was much easier.  I peeled, cut, battered, and put the cinnamon and sugar on the fritters.  P fried the fritters.  We were an amazing apple fritter ring team!

Apple Fritter Frying

The fritters were delicious.  We each ate 2 or 3 warm fritters.  The apples were cooked perfectly inside.  We made the center hole larger after the first batch because, there was not a center hole in the apple fritters and the dough in the center wasn’t cooked.  The batter was nice and thin around the apples.  Again more fruit than batter per bite is better.

Apple Fritter Inside

We had leftover fritters and tried them cold, and rewarmed later that day.  I would highly recommend only making enough apple fritter rings that will be eaten in one sitting within 30 minutes of being fried.  The apple fritter rings are amazing fresh but do not make good leftovers.  They are a great addition to a brunch or weekend breakfast!

Cheesecake for people who hate cheesecake

Lemon ricotta tart

I can't claim credit for the lovely dishes, unfortunately

I can’t claim credit for the lovely dishes, unfortunately

I, like a small minority of Americans, do not like cheesecake.  I’m not sure if it’s the texture, although that doesn’t help, or the richness or what.  I like cream cheese.  I like cheese danish.  Why not cheesecake?  There is, however, one kind of cheesecake that I love.  I love ricotta cheesecake.  I had a wonderful slice of ricotta cheesecake from an Italian restaurant around NYU years and years ago.  I think I liked it because it wasn’t so sticky as traditional cheesecake, nor was it quite so sweet.  I’ve spoken with other people who feel this way.  In fact, lucky me, I happened to make this dessert for a friend who had a similar experience with a, shall we say, alternative cheesecake in London.  This tart is creamy and rich, but not sticky and heavy.  If you’re ever thought of yourself as “not a cheesecake person,” this is the one to try before you write it off completely.

nestled in the springform pan

nestled in the springform pan

A few notes on the recipe are in order.  First of all, the recipe calls for a 9 inch tart pan.  Wouldn’t you know it, my only tart pan is a 12 inch.  Baking is way too sensitive to mess around with the size of the pan.  Someday I’ll have a kitchen big enough to have multiple tart pans…  What I do have is a 8 or 9 inch springform pan.

Calphalon, take me away!

Calphalon, take me away!

I thought this would be a fine substitute because it is the right size and it has the removable bottom feature that a tart pan has.  Plus, you usually make cheesecake in a springform pan, don’t you?

Second, the recipe calls for 72 vanilla wafers.  Big sigh.  Let me translate that for the layperson: One box of Nilla wafers.  Note the serving size and servings per container:

Low that's something...

Low cholesterol…so that’s something…

Ignore everything else on that nutrition label, by the way.  Here is what the box of Nilla wafers looks like in the food processor before it is ground into wonderful, sweet crumbs:

One box fits just fine

One box fits just fine

This is mixed with butter and pressed into the bottom of the tart pan/springform pan and baked:

Blinded by the baking!

Blinded by the baking!

The crust is delicious and lighter than a graham cracker crust.  The filling has a subtle lemon flavor and that wonderful texture.  It makes for a light, but very satisfying dessert.  We had it with an awesome brunch with a lot of great savory flavors (including a savory bread pudding I really need the recipe for), so this was a great way to balance it out with something sweet.

I did have to cook this tart longer than the recipe said, and I think that did have a little something to do with the size of the pan.  I think my pan might have been only 8 inches, and I think that meant that the crust was thicker in places than it would have been in a 9 inch tart pan.  Also, my tart never browned.  The recipe made a huge deal about how to cover up the brown spots.  I never got brown spot one.  No idea why.

The tart was a huge hit.  My friend thought that it captured the taste and texture of the cheesecake from London she’d been trying to find.  Success!