Many moons ago, possibly around the time people stopped believing that the Earth is flat, I was a Boy Scout. I belonged to one of five Scout troops at my school and we would attend regular weekend or vacation camps at a bush property owned by the school, where each patrol would set up sleeping and kitchen tents, do some hiking and other typical Scout activities, and cook our own meals.
By the time I joined the Scouts, I was already interested in cooking, so I willingly put my hand up to help prepare the meals and, within a couple of years, that job became mine on a regular basis, freeing me from such chores as digging latrines, hauling water up from the creek, collecting firewood and putting up the tents.
So, I have fond and vivid memories of the food we ate during Scout camps, including a dish of apple fritters. We would be given the raw ingredients and a recipe and the rest was up to us – making the batter, peeling the apples and cutting them into chunks, heating the oil for semi-deep frying and keeping the fritters warm to serve after the last fritter had been cooked.
From time to time during my adult years, I’ve had a hankering to relive the pleasure of eating an apple fritter, except for the semi-deep frying-in-oil part. Eventually, well just last year, I came across a recipe, in a blog I used to follow, which solved the challenge by using grated apple. Yes, I know. Blindingly obvious! (I have tried, without success, to find the original recipe, in order to give credit where it is due.)
Here is our modified version of that recipe, producing a moist and flavoursome result, known affectionately in our kitchen as an apple francake.
1 cup plain flour
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
>½ tsp mixed spice
½ cup milk
¼ cup Greek yogurt
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 large apple, peeled, quartered, cored and grated
- In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and mixed spice.
- Whisk together the egg, milk, yogurt and vanilla in a smaller bowl.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients with a mixing spoon or whisk. Do not overmix. When the batter is just combined, gently fold in the grated apple.
- Warm a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and melt a little butter. Drop large spoonfuls of batter onto the pan and flatten with the back of the spoon. Cook until golden brown on the bottom, just over 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another minute or so.
- Serve with cream or ice cream, to taste.
Just one tip: if the middle of your cooked francakes seems to be a bit ‘doughy’ in texture, you might have put too much batter in the pan, as we have done sometimes. A case of less is more. In the last photo, the base of our pan is about 15cm (6″) wide, so each francake is about 7cm x 10cm; 6 x 9 would have been better.