Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Whisk Wednesdays—Beignets aux Pommes, Sauce Abricot (Apple Fritters with Apricot Sauce)

Beignets aux Pommes, Sauce Abricot (Apple Fritters with Apricot Sauce)This recipe completes my goal of working through the Basic Cuisine curriculum on my own, in my own kitchen. I started my blog as a way of documenting my progress working through this Le Cordon Bleu curriculum, not knowing that I'd actually be attending 20 months later!

Along the way, I've made many friends and learned new techniques from people who are just as passionate about food. Specifically, I have the following food bloggers to thank for their dedication and friendship:

• Kayte from Grandma’s Kitchen Table in Indiana (who helped launch this group) is a kind, supportive friend, the heart of our group, and an inexhaustible food blogger who keeps up with all sorts of cooking groups without a sweat.

• Michelle from Big Black Dog in Illinois is a font of knowledge about kitchen tools and techniques and a prolific food blogger.

• Glennis from Cantbelieveweate in California keeps us laughing, smiling and grounded with her calm, cool and expert ways in the kitchen.

• Melissa of the blog From Laptop to Stovetop in Michigan is enthusiastic and keen in the kitchen with many wonderful tales of fishing and camping in Alaska.

• Angela from Spinach Tiger in Tennessee is a vibrant and talented food blogger who is taking off on an Italian bent with her Cooking Italy group.

We've had others come and go from Whisk Wednesdays, but these core bloggers are the heart of it. I appreciate their dedication, especially when I've felt overwhelmed and uninspired to continue. They've been there to encourage and cheer me on.

As well, over the last several months, I've gone through 13 pounds of butter, cartons of cream, and hundreds of pinches of salt (but no white pepper!). It's great to end this chapter on a sweet note.

In the Netherlands apple fritters are traditional food on New Year's Eve.
Everything tastes better deep-fried...apples are no exception. The crunchy outside with something soft and tender inside is irresistible for my taste buds. These fritters are best served hot from the fryer.

To make this dessert, first make a sweet fritter batter. Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Make a well in the dry and add the wet ingredients. Whisk until the mixture comes together and let it rest for 45 minutes. Make the sugar syrup. Meanwhile, slice the apples, macerate in the sugar syrup spiked with Calvados. Lighten the batter with whipped egg whites. Heat the oil to 350˚F and dip the apples in the batter. Fry until golden and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. (I followed the same technique for deep frying that I learned when frying potatoes.) Serve with apricot sauce made by puréeing the apricot jam and stirring in ½ cup of the reserved sugar syrup. Bring to boil and keep warm.
A fritter is literally just a "fried thing". The word comes from the Old French friture, which has its roots in the Latin frigere which, unsurprisingly, means "fried".
Joe Pastry
In my research and surfing on apple fritters, I came across this blog post that mentions apple fritters briefly, but resonates deeper than taste buds with me right now: "Follow your heart wherever it takes you." The post is written by another Ottawa blogger, Heather Pardon, who is a Life Change Coach, Personal Trainer and Author currently of no fixed address, travelling across Canada in her recently-acquired RV. This quote rings true with me. I am following my heart. I don't know where it will take me. But so far, it has been worth the fear, the falls, the failures and the butter!
"Do what your heart tells you to, all the rest will fall into place."
— Unknown
Beignets aux Pommes, Sauce Abricot (Apple Fritters with Apricot Sauce) mise en place
For the Sweet Fritter Batter:
¼ cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon fresh yeast or ¾ teaspoon active dry yeast
1½ teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup beer, lukewarm
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 egg whites

For the Sugar Syrup:
½ cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup Calvados or domestic apple brandy
Juice of 1 lemon, strained

3 large Golden Delicious apples
1 cup apricot jam

Oil for deep-fat frying
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

You can find the recipe for Beignets aux Pommes, Sauce Abricot (Apple Fritters with Apricot Sauce) in the Le Cordon Bleu at Home. To see how the rest of the Whisk Wednesdays group fared with their recipe, click here (or check out the sidebar) and then click on each blogger!

Beignets aux Pommes, Sauce Abricot (Apple Fritters with Apricot Sauce)Tasting Notes
These are crisp on the outside with a sweet interior. Drizzled with syrup and a sprinkle of sugar, they're a crunchy treat that's hard to resist.

Next Class
Next up, we're starting to work through Intermediate Cuisine, but at a slower pace. Every other week (I hope), we'll post a recipe from the Intermediate Cuisine curriculum. On the off weeks, the Whisk Wednesdays group will post something from Le Cordon Bleu at Home. Since school is getting hectic for me, I don't know how much I can commit to, but I'll do my best.

. . . . . . . . . .

Running total: $1,570.68 + $13.32 = $1,584.00
($2.22 per serving)

Butter used so far: 13 pounds, 8 tablespoons

100% complete Basic Cuisine (on blog) 47% in real life

. . . . . . . . . .

::Whisk Wednesdays::
We're cooking our way through a cooking school curriculum using the Le Cordon Bleu at Home cookbook. The "classes" are based on the Le Cordon Bleu curriculum found online and used as a guideline. Not all the items in the curriculum are in the cookbook, but most are. Where the items are not in the book, we try to find a suitable substitution. Find out more here.

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    Malak said...

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! What an accomplishment! What a journey!! Who knew where it would take you? I admire your perseverence! Definitely time to celebrate with an apple fritter! They look amazing!!

    angela@spinachtiger said...

    I love you. You are incredible. I've been so behind with so much and tighter finances, but I want to move forward with you in intermediate and I can go back and do some of the dishes I missed in beginning. So honored to cook along side you.
    So proud of what you've done and how you've done it.

    Monica H said...

    Deep fried apples dusted in powdered sugar- perfection and simplicity at it's best.

    CaptainCrunch said...

    Shari - I'm so proud of you! This was a huge challenge to take on. You worked hard, you laughed, you cried and ultimately you triumphed. Your writing is so interesting, your photos so inspiring and your accomplishment so great. I can't wait to see how your next project turns out. Love you!

    Michele said...

    These look just fantastic!

    Engineer Baker said...

    Talk about coming full circle - what a great accomplishment! And the amount of butter - yeesh! :P

    Eliana said...

    This looks mouthwatering!!!!!

    Dolce said...

    They look truly yummy...
    And congratulations on your project :)

    Anonymous said...

    Whisk Wednesdays is a great group. I've loved seeing everything you've accomplished. congrats on completing the curriculum. What a sweet way to end it.

    lisa is cooking said...

    Congratulations! What a fun accomplishment, and what a lot of work and a lot of butter. Your fritters look incredible too.

    celia said...

    These look amazing, cannot wait to try them myself. And congratulations on following your bliss!

    Mr Starkey said...

    Hello there,

    Just came across the site and wanted to say I think it looks cool. I love your enthusiasm.

    I'm cooking a similar apple fritter recipe tomorrow, but will try yours out very soon!


    Mr Starkey

    Anonymous said...

    This looks mouthwatering!!!!!