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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


Blogger wheresmymind said...

That would go so well with some honay butter!

5:18 AM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger Alanna said...

I've never once been tempted to deep-fry anything. So if I end up trapped alone with 15 fritters -- I'm blaming you!

6:04 AM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger Zoubida said...

Well, we've been fairly warned... Now let's make them, double recipe since we're 5 of us... What's the point to only have one or two? Last fried foodstuff was 3 month ago anyway... Guilt induced excuses? Who said that throws the first stone.

6:45 AM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger Il Fornaio said...

I just had to convince my boyfriend last night not to buy a fry daddy. Then I read this, and my first thought was, oh, this would be so easy to make if he had a fry daddy.
I too love the power of the fried food.

6:49 AM, April 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One quick ingredient question...
Baking Soda, or Baking Powder? The ingredients list and the directions disagree, and I'm not sufficiently seasoned in my cooking to figure out which is the right one.

6:54 AM, April 25, 2006  
Anonymous Rathi said...

Ah, now you just need a warning against skipping the designated Orangette lurk time and visiting at 4 minutes to midnight instead. How will I sleep now?? I can't stop drooling!

7:06 AM, April 25, 2006  
Anonymous lindy said...

Mmm. That would be seven and a half fritters each?

Perhaps a reversal of the Dorothy Parker chestnut about the definition of eternity being "2 people and a ham."

Gone, in the blink of an eye.

8:01 AM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger foodiechickie said...

Sounds heavenly and healthy. At least that is what I will tell myself.

9:12 AM, April 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My lord, this may preclude our weekly visit to the Daily Dozen... My calculations: my family of 4 + my fitted jeans+guilt - any kind of willpower = 10 fritters for me and the rest can be shredded to bits by the weaker and smaller ones:)
Bathing suit be damned!

9:37 AM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger Molly said...

Wheresmymind, that would be one hell of a gilded lily! And I heartily endorse it.

AK, until last fall - the first time I made fritters - I had never deep-fried either. For better or worse, I'd been held back by visions of swollen arteries, instant cardiac arrest, and four-alarm fires, but happily, I survived to tell the tale - and to fry again! I wouldn't make it a habit, but eh, it ain't all bad. As long as you don't eat the whole batch. Good luck.

Zoubida, that's the spirit!

Il Fornaio, do not despair. These fritters are a cinch to make, Fry Daddy or no! [I love the name "Fry Daddy," by the way.]

Good save, koj! I hate a stray typo! What you want here is baking powder, and I've corrected the instructions to say so. Thank you.

Rathi, I'm so sorry! Maybe you should put a towel on top of your pillow?

Lindy, too funny! This could have easily turned into a two-people-and-a-ham situation, had I not had the foresight to cut us off at three or so each and seal the rest away safely - in the trash. I had to save us somehow! It was an extreme measure, yes, and Brandon did curse me the next day, but we can both still get into our clothes, and that's what matters.

Foodiechickie, that sounds like a good mantra: heavenly and healthy, heavenly and healthy...

KikiEats, that sounds like a plan to me!

1:41 PM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger kickpleat said...

oh, i do love a deep fried treat! but i don't think i could make them at home without tons of guilt. i can now clear my mind of the delicious thought of fritters with the sole fact that i don't own a candy thermometer. now that's willpower!

2:51 PM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger hello jamie: said...

oh MY, I am trying these immediately. I'm violently allergic to yeast, but these seem like they could fill the doughnut void quite nicely. Better, even, since I prefer tangy to sugary and lemon to practically every other flavor known to me.


5:54 PM, April 25, 2006  
Anonymous Ivonne said...

I read the words fried and dough and you had me! Glad to see that you didn't have to carry the burden of a belly ache all by your lonesome.

Thanks for the recipe!

7:51 PM, April 25, 2006  
Blogger iamchanelle said...

wowee. i can almost taste them from here! (stops licking computer screen...)

funny, i have finally just recovered from deep frying wontons and the wounds thereof...and now you tempt fate here...


9:19 AM, April 26, 2006  
Blogger s'kat said...

Fried food = love.

And theoretically, doesn't the yogurt make it good/better for you?

9:21 AM, April 26, 2006  
Blogger Tokyoastrogirl said...

I think these will have to make an appearance somewhere in my weekend- they look absolutely mouth-wateringly divine!

2:03 PM, April 26, 2006  
Blogger Molly said...

Kickpleat, it's lucky for you that I don't have your address, or I'd ship a candy thermometer up to you right this very minute!

Jamie, you're welcome! These do sound like just the thing for you. Now, go heat up the frying oil and fill that doughnut void!

Ivonne, I hear you - together, "fried" and "dough" are sweet music to my ears...

iamchanelle, get ready: it looks as though there's another round of deep-frying in your future...

I second that equation, s'kat. And as for the healthfulness bit, um, well, I hope at least a few of those "live and active" cultures survived the hot oil. Maybe?

I hope they do, Tokyoastrogirl! Please report back if you do give them a try...

3:43 PM, April 26, 2006  
Blogger Dianka said...

What a great post! I love it. The fritters look as yummy as can be!


12:41 PM, April 27, 2006  
Blogger Erika said...

Well, that's it. I'm off to the store to get some yogurt and a lemon. Tonight after dinner I will be the coolest Mommy in the world!

6:10 AM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger Ayun said...

Oh sweet lord, i'm making drool.

9:04 AM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger shaz said...

looks so sinful! but ohh.. so good!

9:05 AM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger Shauna said...

Well, now I have to figure out the gluten-free version of these, as always. This afternoon, I was standing in the Market, watching my friend Pete eat half a dozen of the little cinnamon doughnut holes at that outrageously good little stand. And I was sad, because I couldn't share them with him. But then I remembered this post and thought -- aha! I'll make Molly's fritters gluten-free! Once again, you've saved me.

8:42 PM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger krysten said...

these were super yummy, although mine were still ever so slightly wet in the centers...i'm thinking perhaps a smaller scoop of it in the oil would help. i added some lemon curd on top and it was divine!

9:19 PM, April 28, 2006  
Blogger Ange said...

Mmmm, my mouth is watering, I dont know why I read these things when I'm starving!

10:36 PM, April 30, 2006  
Blogger cookbookwiki said...

WoW! This would be the bomb! I am really impressed with your other posts too! You really have talent writing these articles, I am currently looking for a few good writers on my project:


I sure could use you on the team! Please contact me!

Robert Eaton

9:13 AM, May 01, 2006  
Blogger Molly said...

Thank you, Dianka! They are indeed pretty darn yummy.

Erika, I can only imagine the squeals you heard around the dinner table! This is definitely "Coolest Mommy in the World" material.

Ayun, I love that - "making drool." That's exactly what I was doing while I fried these puppies, just waiting for them to emerge from the oil...

Shaz, someone may call these sinful, but I say nah - if there is a higher power, he / she / it would want us to eat something so delicious. Or maybe that's wishful thinking? Either way, amen.

Shauna, it amazes me that I work a mere 5- or 7-minute walk from the Market, and yet I've only had one Daily Dozen donut in my entire life. I don't know what's wrong with me - they're SO delicious! My friend Kate and I used to have a running "grocery list" of things that we had to do or procure or consume together, and it included Daily Dozen donuts, gin and tonics, silky black ribbon with little loops on the side, and other interesting assorted items. Someday, someday. In the meantime, though, if you need a partner for a batch of gluten-free fritters, I'm in.

Krysten, lemon curd sounds heavenly - why didn't I think of that? It almost makes me want to fry up another batch, just to taste the combination. But as for those pesky underdone middles, yes, you could try a slightly smaller scoop. I also found that toward the tail end of my frying episode, the oil got just a touch too hot, and my last three fritters were still a bit gooey in the middle when the outsides were nicely browned. That could be another explanation...

Ange, that's when the stash in the desk drawer comes in handy...

Robert, a cookbook wiki sounds like a wonderful idea. Best of luck with your project!

4:30 PM, May 02, 2006  
Anonymous keiko said...

Lovely recipe and beautiful photos, Molly. Lemon & yoghurt combo must be great for fritters, I'm not mad about deep fried things normally but would definitely like to try this one!

4:12 AM, May 05, 2006  
Blogger Suzanne said...

They look delicious! Though I usually save doughnut-making for the winter, I think I can make an exception...

They'll be easy to veganize, too, so I can make them for my sweetie.

Just a note on yogurt: Lactobacillus yogurt cultures die at about 130 degrees, so the yogurt is in there for texture, not health. But it's a nice thought.

12:09 PM, May 08, 2006  
Blogger Molly said...

Thank you, keiko. You know, I'm not normally a deep-frying type of girl either, but I make an exception - or two or three - for this sort of thing. I hope you will too!

Ah ha, Suzanne, thank you for answering that live (or rather, dead) cultures question. It was a nice thought, yes, but now I'll console myself with the knowledge that at least the fritters taste awfully good...

9:38 PM, May 08, 2006  
Anonymous klook said...

Just made a batch of those evil fritters, and as I bit into one, I realised these are almost like the Malay fritters my mum has been making all these years for big family breakfasts! Over here in equatorial Asia, mum's version is made with mashed ripe bananas and brown sugar, served without powdered sugar... the result is somewhat like banana-cake balls with tanned crispy skin, and very, very addictive.

6:00 AM, May 18, 2006  
Blogger Molly said...

Klook, your mum's fritters sound wonderful. Any chance that she might share her recipe? Hmmm?

12:41 PM, May 18, 2006  
Anonymous kloOk said...

kuih kodok or cekodok (which means toad sweet by the way, alluding to the brown and bumpy form) is one of those concoctions where every mum has her own favourite formula - always by intuition, not measuring spoons! some like it firm and muffin-like, at home we have it like brown pillows oozing with banana dream. some versions include dessicated coconut in the dough, others are served with honey and crushed pistacchio nuts. have fun googling/experimenting :-)

9:05 AM, May 23, 2006  
Blogger Molly said...

Thank you, kloOk! "Toad sweets," here I come...

11:58 AM, May 23, 2006  
Blogger DEe said...

i make my own version with slightly less flour.. just mash up a few bananas, add flour, sugar, a little baking powder and a pinch of salt. the end consistency should be... if you drop a spoonful back in the batter it sits there in a splat for awhile... but this way, its final texture is not so cakelike, but a little chewy and soft... hope that works out for you :D

8:57 AM, June 12, 2006  
Blogger Molly said...

Thank you for the tips, DEe! It sounds just delicious. I can't believe that I haven't tried it yet, actually. So many recipes to make, so many...

3:25 PM, June 12, 2006  
Blogger psuklinkie said...

I made these absolutely divine-fried creatures in a fit of guilt over having gone to the gym.
Thank you for another delicious, roommate-pleasing recipe!

7:54 PM, January 31, 2008  
Anonymous Naailah said...

hey do u use metric cup or US cup? because i usually measure in grams
thx :)

1:16 AM, February 24, 2010  
Blogger Molly said...

Naailah, I use a US cup. (I've never heard of a metric cup!) If it helps at all, 1 US cup = about 240 ml.

10:48 AM, February 24, 2010  

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