The weather’s cold so we’re thinking of deep-fried desserts. A specific dessert that’s very easy to eat this time of year is the humble fritter. Traditionally made with fruit, vegetables, or meat, today we’ll explore what sweet options are available near you. We’ll even include a quick word on that infamous fritter from Scotland…
For the western world, people would forgive you for thinking about corn and zucchini fritters before anything else. However, by definition, we make fritters by deep-frying or pan-frying any choux pastry or yeast dough concoction. Though French beignets, Italian bigne, and Greek lokmas count, we’re actually referring to the fruit-filled options like apple fritters. These seem to marry the doughnut to the apple pie!
The filling can really be any fruit you desire, and you can incorporate it into the batter as solid chunks or minced and mashed up as paste. Once the frying is done, we can then cover any sweet fritter in sugar, molasses, syrup, or honey. We might add though, that we don’t always need to dice up the star ingredient. The batter can sometimes actually surround it. One well-known example is the mighty deep-fried Mars bar from Scotland!
Yes, you read correctly. A whole candy bar, like a Mars bar, that you batter and deep-fry actually constitutes a Mars bar fritter. If you don’t know, John Davie, a Scottish gentleman living just south of Aberdeen, made it famous in the mid-90s. He’d chill the bars first (to prevent them from melting in the fryer), coat them in batter, then drop them into the hot oil. The result: Heaven.
This practice gave rise to the fritter-fication of other confections like the Creme Egg and Snickers bar, and as far south as New Zealand, you could even find people deep-frying Moro bars. Even Nigella Lawson, a renowned English food writer, was deep-frying coconut bars with pineapple.
When traveling around the world, we see in South Africa pumpkin fritters served with cinnamon sugar. Further to this in Malaysia we have fritters made with bananas. In British fish’n’chip shops we have simple deep-fried pineapple rings passing for fritters! Originally thought to be a type of cake, these days we can enjoy the deep-fried goodies for breakfast, dessert, and as a snack in between. Appealing to anyone who enjoys a doughnut, fritters can also be served hot or cold, with various glazes, dustings, and dips!
Next time you’re out and about, have a look to see what fritter-like treats are on hand in the realm of deep-fried desserts. Who knows, you could even find your favourite candy bar hidden inside a golden fritter.