To Make Appel Flitters


Who can resist an apple fritter? Alyssa and I are both crazy about the apple fritters at Reading Terminal Market. Dotties, my local doughnut shop, makes a mean vegan apple fritter. These tasty pastries are a highlight of apple picking trips (or at least stiff competition for the apple cider doughnuts). Naturally, I was thrilled when Alyssa added a recipe for “appel flitters” to our cooking list. This one comes from UPenn MS Codex 830, Eliz[abeth?] Kendrick’s recipe book which was signed and dated by its original owner in 1723.

The Recipe

Take a pint of Cream 8 eggs 4 of the whites beat them very well
together then take a peny lofe & grate it in or biskits if you
will put to it a Cofe Cup of good wine and one spoonfull or two of
wheat flower and a little Oringe flower or Rose water then put in
som white sugar Nutmeg & Salt a Cording to your pallit then mix
all thees to geather, lett your batter stand an hour before you use
It then take som pippins and par them and scope all the Core out &
Cut them in thin Sliceis pices then take lard and set it over a sharp fier &
When it is hot dip your slices of pipins in to the batter then in to the
Liquor turn them often straw white suger ouer them and serue
them up

Unlike their complex, pastry cousins, these apple fritters are battered and shallow-fried apple slices. They tasted best when they’d cooled just enough to eat without a burn risk.

Although pippins are a common apple variety in England, they’re much less common here. We used two aging honeycrisp apples I had around. Instead of using bread (penny-loaf) we used sweet, store-bought ladyfingers  (biskits) to bulk out the batter. (We’ve made our own “biskets” before.) You might need to adjust the sugar if you use grated bread. We opted for rosewater over orange blossom water and neutral frying oil instead of lard.

Our Recipe

Even halved, this recipe made enough batter to coat six (or even eight?) apples. We cooked up two in our test and had lots of leftover batter.

1 C heavy cream
4 eggs, (2 whole, 2 whites)
4 ladyfingers, crumbled
1/3 C white wine
1 T flour
1 t rosewater
2 T sugar
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t salt
apples, peeled cored, and sliced into 1/2 inch wedges
1/3 C neutral oil (like canola) for frying

Whip together the cream, egg whites, and eggs in a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, combine the crumbled ladyfingers, wine, flower, rosewater, sugar, and spices. When the cookies are soft, add this mix to the cream mix and stir to combine. The batter will be somewhat clumpy. Let it sit for an hour.

After the dough has rested, prepare your apples. In a sturdy, high-sided pot, heat your oil. (We used a dutch oven to prevent oil spatter.) Dip apples in the batter and cook in the oil for 1 minute on each side (until the outside is brown).

Consume immediately!

The Results

Spicy, sweet, fried apples: A radical transformation of those apples in the bottom of my fridge. The frying process was fun to do together and could be a nice activity for a rainy weekend afternoon. I think these apples would be especially delicious on top of vanilla ice cream or served with this syllabub.

6 thoughts on “To Make Appel Flitters

  1. Although I am no expert, my understanding is that the term “pippin” is a generic term for apple because apples are not true to their seed. The only way to get a specific kind of apple is to graft it onto some other stock I believe. But I do know that pippin is not a kind of apple, as for example honey crisp is. It can be any kind of apple. I think your receipt just wants you to use local apples.

    Although I have always made the choice that you made and done all of my frying in vegetable oil, I am told by the expert bakers that at least once in your life, you should have doughnuts that have been fried in lard. The same may be true of apple fritters.

    • Mercy, these are great thoughts, as always. Some UK apple producers sell certain varieties as “pippins” or “[NAME] Pippin” so I wanted to be clear about what we chose to do.
      Next time I’ll have to use lard!

      • Pippin apples are a cultivar. Many orchards like North Star Orchards( near Gap PA) grow and offer a variety of Pippins, as well as some 350 varieties of apples not commonly grown.

        “The Pippin apple is said to have originated as a chance seedling or “pip” near a swamp estate of Gersham Moore, in Newtown, Queens County, New York in 1730. One of the oldest apple varieties of the United Sates, the Pippin is said to have been a favorite of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Ben Franklin. In the 1800’s the Pippin was exported to London where it was also a favorite of Queen Victoria. Today the bulk of commercial Pippin apple supply comes out of California, Washington State and Oregon with a smaller supply coming from New York and Virginia.”

  2. Mixing cream and wine; using some bread along with flour – sounds interesting. The bread would have contained some flour and some leavening? Would any leavening in the bread have any effect in the apple fritter batter because you know I’m wondering why grated bread? I’m asking because I’m guessing if you didn’t have old bread, you could just throw in some extra flour and wondered if you’d then need to add some leavening.

    I know you’ve halved the recipe so what was the reasoning behind using 1 cup cream instead of 1/2? Did 1 cup cream to 4 eggs instead of 8 eggs make the batter too thin?

    So “cofe” means 1/3 or 1/3 cup?

    Yes, it sounds like the apples are best eaten quickly after cooking but did your leftovers get soggy and/or greasy?

    It’s fascinating to see how vocabulary and spelling have changed over the last several hundred years. They’ve changed somewhat in my lifetime and I wonder what people will think about our vocabulary and spelling several hundred years in the future.

    Love the blog and thank you.

    • Lots of interesting questions! I’m going to try to address all of them.

      Leavening – There is no leavening in this recipe! Early modern recipes are normally leavened with yeast or whipped eggs and this has neither. The choice of bread or biscuits would have no effect on this.

      Cream – The original recipe calls for a pint so I include 1/2 a pint or one cup. The batter was manageable with these proportions.

      “Cofe” cup – “Cofe” means Coffee! These were the early days of drinking coffee in England. Alyssa and I were not sure about the exact volume of an eighteenth-centry coffee cup, so we approximated here and estimated that a full coffee cup would be about 2/3 c, hence 1/3 c halved.

      Leftovers – The leftover fritters got soggy and greasy.

  3. Pingback: Merkwaardig (week 18) |

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