When I read about this months theme for IMBB – Summer’s Flying, Let’s Get Frying! – over at “At Our Table“, I was thinking: OK, summer didn’t much bother to stop here (it basically flew by), so why not just ignore the fact and use it as a good excuse for some appeasing, comfort food. Not, because the smell of fried anything seems to stay forever in our apartment, like an unwanted house guest, and each time we tell ourselves that next time will have to wait. But deep down I love everything hot and greasy, no matter how unhealthy it might be, so next time became now.
Before I turned to some well-proven recipes, I did search for new challenges. My first thoughts were about those delicious Churros, which I had fallen in love with at a recent trip to Madrid. While skimming through Spanish cookbooks, the recipe immediately attracting my interest was for Pasteles fritos. The recipe seemed straight forward and to be prepared in the blink of an eye, the churros dropped to second place. Mistake? The outcome was OK, but nothing compared to the sensational Churros I had in mind. Granted, the preparation didn’t take long, but it was one of the most annoying doughs I have ever worked with, crumbly and dry, almost impossible to roll out and cut with a cookie cutter. Taste wise nice, perhaps a bit on the boring side, as I couldn’t tell the added sherry – should I’ve added more than the recipe called for…? No recipe here, as this one was more a mediocre experience.
So I had to turn to something more tasteful and happy making: Apple crullers. Pastry I used to enjoy – back in the years – at a friend’s house, while we were doing homework or having fun. This is the one and ONLY recipe I ever prepared using dry yeast, which never results in a dough, I’m fully happy with. Maybe it is just me, I don’t know. But while the dough is very tough and not easy at all to handle, the final crullers are a real hit. I remember searching for endless excuses to return to Mrs B’s kitchen and eat another one and another one and … Best eaten still warm!
Blend soft butter, sugar and eggs until creamy. Add salt, zest of a lemon.
Mix flour and dry yeast, add curd and the above mixture and knead the dough with a kitchen machine until it becomes shiny and flexible – which mine really never does! Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise at a warm place. NOTE: Admittedly, this dough didn’t rise the tiniest bit, it never did when I prepared it in the past (at least 10 times)… But since the outcome is so yummy, I simply ignore the fact ;)
Peel the apples and cut them into small cubes or grate them coarsely. Mix under the dough, using a big spoon or even the knead hooks of your kitchen machine. This is the tough part, as the tenacious dough and the apple pieces just don’t want to stick together… Keep fighting!
Heat the fat in a deep pan to about 160° Celsius (320°F) to 170° Celsius (340°F) and form little dumplings with the help of two tablespoons. This starts out as fun, but as this dough-apple mixture is anything else but easy to handle, it develops quickly into hard work – the little balls have either too many apple bits in it or none at all. Let them glide into the boiling fat slowly and keep turning them every 30 seconds, so they gain a nice and evenly dark golden-brown outside. If you take them out to early, the dough in the center might not be done. I always cut the first one in half, for a quick check. The crullers need to freely swim in the fat without touching others or the bottom of the pan, so don’t fry too many at the same time.
Take them out and drain them on a sheet of kitchen paper. Roll them in a bowl of (vanilla) sugar while they are still hot. Done & enjoy!
With my sweet tooth being all happy now, what about something savory? Here is a quick one, that also goes well with other antipasti: Fried Cheese Tidbits. Their taste and consistency depends – of course – on the chosen cheese (my favorite is Manchego) and the time between frying and eating them. I prefer them still hot with a slightly molten core, but then, I am also the one who’s famous for burning her tongue nearly every single time because of being so impatient…
Heat the olive oil in a pan until it starts producing little bubbles, when holding a wooden stick in it.
Put the egg yolk in a little bowl, add some freshly ground pepper and whisk well. Mix the breadcrumbs with the dried herbs and pour them in another bowl.
The Manchego is cut into little cubes or sticks and dipped into the egg mixture, until evenly covered, finally roll it in the bowl with the breadcrumbs.
Carefully put the coated cheese cubes into the hot oil and fry them, until they gain a nice brown color (happens quick). Turn them a few times and take them out before they get too dark. Drain on a paper towel and serve immediately.
Recipe source: inspired by Mobo's mom
Required time: prep. 45 min., frying 15 min., yield: 35-40 pieces
1 pinch of salt
finly chopped zest of one lemon
1 pack of dry yeast
1-1.5 l oil for frying
3 mid-sized (tartish) apples, little cubes or coarsely grated
extra (vanilla) sugar for coating
Recipe source: own creation
Required time: prep. 10 min., frying 5-10 min.
Ingredients (amounts depend on desired yield):
olive oil (for frying)
freshly ground black pepper
dried herbs (thyme, oregano,...)