May it Please the Palate

Frittering away the time

By Nick Roumel

Like “The Most Interesting Man in the World” might say, “I don’t eat doughnuts often, but when I do,  I will only have an apple fritter from the Dexter Bakery.”

And who wouldn’t?

These marbleized pillows of glazed perfection are the hit of any bakery box.

Try taking a dozen assorted Dexter Bakery treats to work sometime. The apple fritters always go first.

Even though everything else the Dexter Bakery makes is quite tasty, I’ve pretty much given up on taking any varieties to the office besides their apple fritters.

There is one huge problem with the Dexter Bakery.

It’s in Dexter, which doesn’t much help if I live and work in Ann Arbor.

Some time ago I became quite excited to see that the convenience store being renovated near my house will feature Dexter Bakery products.

But it has become apparent that this is the world’s second slowest construction project — after the Stadium Bridge, of course. (For those of you outside of Ann Arbor, the Stadium Bridge is the main route to Michigan Stadium and the entire west side of town.

It’s construction pace is so slow, that one could build Stonehenge, the Pyramid of Giza, and the Great Wall of China, and still have time to drive to Dexter for some apple fritters before the bridge will ever be completed.)

But let’s say you don’t feel like driving to Dexter after doing all that heavy lifting.

What to do?

I scoured recipes for a version of apple fritters I wanted to try.

I laughed when I came across one called “Seemingly Greek Apple Fritters,” but it came closest to what I was looking for. is a charming blog by an American-born young woman named Jacquline East who married a Greek, and lives happily ever after cooking Greek food, like apple fritters.

Not sure what makes these Greek — perhaps the nutmeg and cinnamon — but here goes, with a variation or two:

1 heaping cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
dash salt
1 - 2 tsp. cinnamon
dash or two of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 T. butter, melted
1 egg
1/3 cup milk + plus more if needed (I used buttermilk)
1 - 1 1/2 cups finely diced chopped apple (you can also substitute or add raisins, plumped in very hot water)
vegetable oil for frying
milk (or buttermilk) and powdered sugar glaze for dipping

Mix all dry ingredients together. Beat the egg in a separate bowl, and add the other wet ingredients minus the apple.

Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients, pour in the wet, and gradually mix until well combined.

Fold in the apple pieces.

The batter should be the consistency of a light cake mix.

Heat the oil about an inch deep in a deep, wide pan, short of medium high.

It will be ready when a test drop of dough floats to the top of the oil.

Using a cookie scooper or soup spoon, place a few balls of dough into the oil.

Be careful not to overcrowd and watch carefully for the underside to turn golden brown, then gently flip over and continue frying until done.

Cooking time will vary based on size of fritters and temperature of your oil. Remove the fritters and drain.

Make the glaze — sift a cup of powdered sugar, then add milk or buttermilk by the teaspoons while beating vigorously, until you get the desired consistency. (You won’t need much milk.)
Add a dash of cinnamon. Spoon the glaze over the warm fritters.

The first batch I made, I had the oil too hot.

The outside fried up quickly but the inside was still runny dough.

I picked at it and then tossed it outside for the birds and squirrels.

The second batch, I made the fritters a touch smaller — about the size of a largish cookie — and lowered the heat.

They turned out perfectly.

I have been reading where deep frying, done properly, does not add the calories to food that many people fear.

In fact, when steam escapes from food that is being fried, that actually prevents the oil from penetrating the food, so that it browns only the surface.

Please stay tuned for my next book, the French Fry Diet.

In the meantime, enjoy these apple fritters.

They may not rival those of the Dexter Bakery, but they’re a tasty diversion.

Idon’t think your friends at the office will mind them one bit.


Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard and Walker, P.C., a litigation firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment litigation.
He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes and writes a food/restaurant column for “Current” magazine.


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