This Italian take on an apple fritter, made with whole apple rings, is a traditional treat in the Northern Italian retreat of Lake Como.
The Lake Como region is comprised of several small villages all perched on hillsides, each more glamourous than the next. While mansions pop up around every corner, every village seems to have their trattoria or espresso bar that predates almost every home in the neighbourhood. There’s also something about Italians in a cafe that’s just so welcoming. There are no inhibitions, no barriers, only warm people who just want to get to know you. People that are proud you’ve travelled such a long way to visit them. I had asked a few of the locals what dessert was traditional to Lake Como. The answer was a resounding frittelle di mele, an apple fritter. I admit, I was surprised that such a simple dessert was what the locals chose as Lake Como specialties. However, I was told that unlike other countries in Europe, the apple really isn’t a staple of Italian cuisine. The apple can really only be found in Northern Italy. The frittelle di mele here, unlike the ones I’m accustomed to in North America are made from a yeasted dough, and use the entire apple ring instead of chunks. The result is a fritter that isn’t greasy, and really tastes of apple rather than batter. The outside is still crispy, but light and pillowy on the inside, much like you would find in a donut.
- 1 tbsp dry active yeast
- 350 ml warm water
- 125 g all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 500 ml vegetable oil
- 3 apples
- 1 tsp grappa
- granulated sugar for dusting
- In a medium bowl, dissolve the yeast into the warm water.
- Add the flour, salt, sugar, egg yolk, and grappa. Mix the batter until it is smooth. Let rest for 15-20 minutes.
- Peel and core the apples, then slice them into thin rings.
- When ready, heat a pan with olive oil. The oil is at the proper temperature when a drop of batter sizzles in the oil on contact.
- Take a few apple rings and dip them quickly in the batter, coating each side. Drop them in the oil and let each side cook until they’re golden. Be careful not to crowd the pan. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and let rest on a paper towel to drain off any excess oil.
- While they are still warm, toss them in granulated sugar.
- Serve immediately
After quitting her job, Michelle packed a bag and set off on a four year trip around the world. The one souvenir she brought back: a love of food and cooking. Taking a cooking class while traveling is the only thing that weighs nothing and stays with you forever. Returning home, she enrolled in the Pastry Arts program at the French Culinary Institute in New York City and has worked in some of North Americas finest restaurants and pastry shops. She currently resides in Toronto where she chronicles her travels and recipes on her blog Sweet Escapes.