Fritters, with fair warning
Some recipes should come with warning labels. Take, for example, my great-grandfather’s egg nog, which should come with a built-in breathalyzer test. Or a certain salad that, in all fairness, should be branded with the label “May Be Habit-Forming.” For the average single-occupant household like mine, a recipe for macaroni and cheese should come with a warning from the Surgeon General, and a batch of chocolate-covered coconut macaroons with the caution “May Steal Your Soul.” When it comes to the threat of danger, cigarettes, radiation, and other documented hazards have nothing on the output of one home cook and her kitchen. Especially when said cook is contemplating fritters, doughnuts, and other things deep-fried: a category of recipe that rubs seductively against danger, first-degree burns, and a delicious lot of fat. It’s the extreme sport of foodstuffs.
I love a good deep-fried something, but I also love my fitted jeans, so when I clipped a recipe for yogurt fritters from the pages of Saveur, I filed it under “Do Not Attempt Alone,” lest I tempt fate and a big, fatty bellyache. I have said it before, and I will say it again: no one—single occupant or not—should find herself solo with fifteen homemade balls of fried batter. So I sat back and waited for Brandon to visit, so we two could tempt fate together, and rub each other’s bellyaches.
Which we did, and I can’t exactly warn against it.
Tangy with yogurt and laced with a tinge of lemon, these fritters fry up to the size of a small child’s fist and go down in a half-dozen bites. The crust of each little orb is uncannily crisp, meeting the tooth with a good, satisfying crack. Beneath, the crumb is moist, dense, and deceptively light, somewhere between cake doughnut and sponge cake. Even with a snowy cap of sugar, they’re only subtly sweet—the sort of thing that goads you, ever so slyly, into a second helping. I ate two and a half and only sort of wanted to die—until, of course, I ate another. Consider yourself warned, if you want to.
Lemon – Yogurt Fritters
Adapted from Saveur
While deep-frying is not exactly a healthful practice, I find that a fritter every now and then does the morale good, especially when eaten in good company. These are a cinch to make, and very quick too. If you, like me, are inclined to think that fried dough makes for a good dessert, whip up a batch of batter before you make dinner, slip it into the fridge to chill, and then heat the oil while you eat your main course. These fritters would also be a wonderful—and wonderfully unfussy—addition to a brunch menu, with the special bonus of being easily made the morning of. And should you have any leftovers, be sure to let them cool thoroughly before sealing them in an airtight container or bag, so that they don’t get soggy.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup whole-milk plain yogurt
2 large eggs
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice (about 1 lemon’s worth)
1 Tbs honey
1 Tbs vegetable oil, such as canola, plus more for frying
Powdered sugar, for serving
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, combine the granulated sugar, yogurt, eggs, lemon juice, honey, and 1 Tbs of the oil, whisking until smooth and well combined. Add the flour mixture, and gently fold and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Do not overmix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the batter until chilled, about 1 hour.
When you are ready to fry, pour oil into a wide heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven to a depth of about 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until its temperature reaches 325 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. Scoop the batter by scant ¼ cupfuls—I used a heaping two-tablespoon ice cream scoop—into the hot oil, and fry, about 3 or 4 at a time, turning occasionally, until the fritters are deep golden brown all over, about 5 to 6 minutes per batch. Transfer the finished fritters with a slotted spoon or spider to a large plate lined with paper towels. Repeat the process with the remaining batter.
Dust the fritters with powdered sugar while still warm, and serve.
Yield: About 15 fritters