I looked outside the window and felt guilty to have abandoned the late autumn apples, still managing to hang off bare branches, and enduring this chilly weather. Every autumn, I am extremely grateful to this apple tree for giving us so much, despite absolute neglect and lack of TLC. I’m saying TLC but in reality, I LOVE my tree, it’s probably the only thing that I give back. I admire its beautiful pale, pink flowers in spring and enjoy their fragile perfume. Later on I watch with greediness the fruit plumping up day after day, thinking of what to make or whom to gift them to.
It’s a sharing tree. This is why I left some apples on the branches so late in the year. There are a few squirrels around that love them. It’s so funny watching them eating apples that are bigger than their heads.
So I picked some of the last apples and used a recipe from Transylvania to make the fritters. At my auntie’s house in the countryside, she cooked basic recipes using whatever she had around in the pantry and garden: flour, eggs, fruit and buttermilk were staple ingredients (not exactly examples of poverty but rather of an industrious spirit and self-sufficiency). We are obsessed with dairy produce in Romania, where yoghurt is not just for breakfast (we even drink it!), and sour cream is used in doughs, marinades, soups and for glazing pies and pastries.
Make the batter by whisking the ingredients together briefly, just enough to combine them. Set in the fridge for 1 hour. Grate the apples and add them to the mixture.
Heat a thin layer of oil to cover the bottom of a large frying pan. Using a tablespoon, take some of the mixture and place it in the pan. Flatten it with the back of the spoon. Working quickly, shape as many fritters as can fit in the pan. You can turn the heat down to control the cooking, then up again before adding a new batch. Fry on each side for 2-3 minutes, then set on paper towels to drain any excess oil.
Serve warm or cold, with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of custard (even a scoop of ice-cream).