Twice & Thrice Challenge, Recipe 1 - Apple Fritters

Woman Peeling Apples  (Gabriel Metsu, 1629-1667). From the collection of the Louvre Museum.

Woman Peeling Apples (Gabriel Metsu, 1629-1667). From the collection of the Louvre Museum.

The announcement of this recipe created quite a buzz here at the Colony. In fact, staff have been anxiously anticipating this dish ever since Lori discovered the recipe last fall. And who can blame them? Crispy beer battered, deep fried apple chunks finished with a dusting of oh so sweet sugar. Mmmmmmm. 

So, in honor of our super staff  (with a big shout out to Marilyn Willcott, Neil Jordan and our Chief Archaeologist Dr. Barry Gaulton who were recently honored for 25 years of work with the Colony!) here’s the original 17th century recipe for the Best Apple Fritters:

To make the best Fritters, take a pint of creame and warm it: then take eight eggs, only abate four of the Whites, and beat them well in a dish, and so mixe them with the creame; then put in a little Cloves, Mace Nutmegge and Saffron, and stir them well together: then put in two spoonfull of the best Ale Barm, and a little salt, and stirre it again: then make it thicke according unto your pleasure with wheat flower, which done, set it within the ayre of the fire, that it may rise and swell, which when it doth, you shall put unto it a peny pot of sack; all this being done, you shall take a pound or two of very sweet saeme, and put it into a pan, and set it over the fire, and when it is moulten and begins to bubble, you shall take the Fritter-batter, and setting it by you, put thick slices of well pared apples into the batter, andthen taking the apples and batter out together with a spoon, put it into the boiling saeme, and boyle your fritters  crispe and brown. And when you finde the  strength of your saeme consume or decay, you shall renew it with more saeme, that which is made of the Beef suet is best and strongest: when your fritters are made, strew good store of sugar and cynamon uopn them, being faire disht, and so serve them up. 

From Countrey Contentments, or the English Huswife: containing the Inward and Outward Vertues which ought to be in a Compleate Woman by Gervase Markham, 1623


And here’s a modern translation to get your started. 

1 1/4 cup ale or beer (top-fermenting, unpasteurized beer will work best)
1 Tbs. dry yeast
Pinch each of saffron, nutmeg, mace and cloves (or to taste)
1 cup flour
2 egg yolks
3-4 apples
1/2 tsp. salt
oil or shortening for frying
sugar for dusting

  • In a small pan on the stove, heat the beer to lukewarm (do not microwave)
  • In a medium sized bowl, take 1/4 cup of your warmed beer, sprinkle in the yeast and let stand for 15 minutes. 
  • Heat one table spoon of the remaining beer in the microwave and bruise the saffron with a small spoon in this beer. 
  • In a separate bowl, mix flour, nutmeg, mace, cloves and salt. Add all the beer (including the beer with yeast, the beer with saffron and leftover warmed beer) and egg yolks. Mix to a smooth, thick batter. Set aside in a warm place to rise for 30 to 60 minutes. It should at least double in bulk. 
  • Meanwhile, peel the apples, core them and cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges or rings. 
  • Heat the oil to 180C or 355F
  • Dip the apple pieces in the batter and coat well. Fry a few at a time until golden-brown (a couple of minutes). 
  • Roll the warm fritters in sugar or a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Serve hot.

Good luck and remember, post a pic of your fritters on the Colony’s Facebook page and you’re automatically entered to win our next prize draw for a $50 gift certificate from YellowBelly Brewery and Public House.

Jane SeversComment