Apple fritter donut rings prepared with whole apple rings tossed in delightful, airy batter and shallow fried in a pan. Known as Apfelküchle or Apfelbeignets these treats are one of the most popular pastry desserts in Germany, especially in fall and during the Oktoberfest.
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Read on for relevant tips and how-to, step-by-step pictures (2 mins).
Tried and True Recipe
This is an authentic recipe for Schwäbische Apfelküchle Chris has from working at Kaltenberg Castle. The method of preparation has a few subtleties that truly boost the end results – the apple rings are infused with extra flavor before they are dipped in the apple batter and the batter itself is mixed to impress.
The three secrets to flavorful, fresh tasting apple rings encased in puffy, crispy batter are to
(1) soak the apples in rum (or Obstler/Schnaps), sugar and lemon juice,
(2) use a beer batter (bierteig) with Bavarian wheat ale and
(3) separate the eggs and beat the whites to stiff peaks before folding them into the beer batter.
That being said, you can skip the ring soaking and beating the egg whites separately and substitute the German beer with sparkling all American cider. But at the expense of flavor and texture. We recommend that you make the recipe as written – it is so worth it.
Ingredients for Apple Fritter Rings
Apples. Choose mealy, cooking apples such as gala or honey crisp.
Rum, lemon juice and sugar. To infuse the apple rings with flavor and prevent them from oxidizing while you work on the batter. Rum is a popular ingredient to many German desserts today, originally spirits like obstler, schnaps, kirschwasser were used.
Flour. All purpose flour works just fine, but if you have cake flour around you can use that (less gluten, lighter batter). It is important to sift the flour after you measure it.
Baking soda, salt and ground cinnamon. Self-explanatory, to help the batter rise and flavor it. A pinch of nutmeg will taste good.
Beer. The top choice of beer is German wheat ale (called hefeweizen or weissbier) because it contains a bit of live yeast. This yeast brings forward esters of banana and clove and make the batter very aromatic, it also helps it rise. The alcohol in the beer, even though not much, prevents the over-development of gluten. Oktoberfest lager is another great choice when in season even though it does not have the hefe yeast.
When I lived in Baden-Württemberg (the region to the west of Bavaria) I noticed that oftentimes white wine was the liquid of choice instead of hefeweizen or lager beer.
Eggs. Adding the beaten yolks first and folding in the egg whites in the end is one of the tricks to an airy batter as noted above.
Vegetable oil. For pan frying, you will need just enough to cover the skillet about an inch deep.
Fried Battered Apple Rings Process
For best results you need to prep the apples about an hour ahead of time and the batter about half an hour to an hour earlier.
Step 1. Begin by coring, peeling and slicing the apples.
Step 2. Place them in a glass container with a lid or simply a gallon freezer bag and add sugar, lemon juice and rum. Coat the rings well, close the container or bag and let them soak in the liquid.
TIP: If you would rather not soak the rings as shown, cut them right before you fry them so they do not turn brown (stop at #3 above).
Step 3. Prepare to mix the batter:
- Pour just over half of the hefeweizen in a glass and save the part at the bottom to capture the bits of yeast in the dregs. Measure out a cup of it. (#1 and #2 below).
- Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Mix the yolks with a fork and beat the whites to stiff peaks.
- Measure out and then sift the flour.
Step 4. Mix the batter:
- Combine the dry ingredients: add the baking soda, salt and cinnamon to the flour, mix.
- Add the beer and whisk.
- Add the yolks, mix and finally fold in the beaten whites (#9, #10 and #11). Let the batter rest.
TIP: Allowing the batter to sit for about half an hour lets the yeast from the hefeweizen work its magic and leads to a better rise during pan frying.
Step 5. Fry the apple fritter donuts. Heat vegetable oil in a dutch oven or other deep pot. Dip the rings into the batter and fry until golden brown on each side. The batter will puff up before your eyes. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon from the hot oil and cool over wire rack or paper towels to drain once you remove them from the pan.
Several Ways to Enjoy Apple Fritters
The shallow fried apple rings are best enjoyed hot so do not waste time in addressing them.
- If you made them for quick breakfast or as a snack, simply dust them with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar – they can be casually eaten by hand.
- If you will go fancy and use plates and utensils you can always drizzle the fritters with honey or maple syrup as a glaze, warm vanilla sauce, caramel sauce or add a bit of whipped cream and chopped walnuts on top.
- For a decadent dessert option vanilla ice cream or even better, walnut ice cream, is an easy solution.
Apple Fritter Calories
As decadent as these apple fritter donuts are, they are not as high in calories as you might expect because the apple rings constitute half of the fritter. Each one has about 150 calories as per our apple fritter recipe, depending on the actual size.
How to Make Apple Batter
Another popular way of preparing homemade apple fritters is to fold diced apples into the light and airy beer batter.
The resulting apple batter is then scooped and pan-fried in the manner of thick pancakes with a circular shape and about 4 inch diameter. In Germany this version of preparing the fritters is widely known as Apfelküchlein (apple cakes) and some people prefer it because of its arguably simpler execution.
If this is the method you’d prefer to use you really do not need to go searching for a German apple pancakes recipe. Simply make the batter as shown above, peel and dice some apples and fold them into it. Then fry as you would pancakes.
Other Recipes You Might Enjoy
- 4 apples (medium sized, such as Gala or Pink Lady)
- 2 tbsp cane sugar
- 2 tbsp rum
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 cup +2 tbsp flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 2/3 cup or about 5 oz of wheat beer (recommend German style hefeweizen)*
- 2 eggs
- vegetable oil, enough to fill frying pan 1 inch deep
1. Core, peel and slice the apples into rings (1/2 to 3/4 inch thick). Place them into a glass container or plastic freezer bag and sprinkle with sugar. Add rum and lemon juice, mix together and coat the rings evenly. Let them soak for 30 to 60 mins. **
2. Measure the flour then sift it. Add the baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix. Set aside.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. Beat the yolks lightly and the whites to stiff peaks. Set aside.***
4. Measure out the beer. If using actual hefeweizen pour just over half the 12 oz bottle into a glass and save about 5 oz from the bottom. The dregs have banana/clove smelling yeast you want to capture. If using another beer or white wine or cider simply measure out 2/3 cup. Feel free to enjoy the beer you did not use.
5. Add the beer to the flour mixture, whisk. Add the egg yolks and whisk to incorporate. Fold in the beaten egg whites. *** Rest the batter for 30 to 60 mins.
6. Heat enough vegetable oil in a pan to cover the bottom about 1 inch deep. Heat to 350 F.
7. Dip the apple rings into the batter and let excess drain. Fry for a couple of minutes per side until they puff up and turn golden-brown. Do not overcrowd the pan. Place the fried rings onto a cooling rack placed on top of a baking sheet.
Serve while still hot/warm.
*You can use a different beer, balanced or skewed to the malty side. Oktoberfest lager or pumpkin lagers are especially fragrant. You can also use cider or sweet white wine.
**If you do not want to soak the apple rings simply slice them just before you are about to fry them.
***The beaten egg whites will make the batter airier. While you do not have to let the batter rest nor soak the apple rings as described doing so will give you more flavorful and puffier fritters.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 153Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 89mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 17gProtein: 3g