From Scratch: Raspberry Fritters

I think it’s safe to say that Bostonians are doughnut people. And while doughnuts are not my regular go-to breakfast pastry, I do find it hard to pass up a crunchy fruit fritter. Fritters are fried dough that have a filling mixed into the dough (as opposed to being filled) and can be dressed up for dessert (think: chocolate dipping sauce) or made simple and delicious for breakfast.

Since I don’t deep fry much of anything, but have always wanted to try raspberry fritters at home, I went to some chefs who serve specialty doughnuts for some pointers. Jeremy Sewall, chef at Island Creek Oyster Bar, has a Boston Cream Pie doughnut on his brunch menu and says, “Doing the frying as close to the serving time as possible makes for the best doughnut. And having the proper equipment, like a thermometer, is very important.” Michael LaScola of American Seasons in Nantucket suggests: “Keep the dough cold before you fry, it helps everything cook evenly.” Chef LaScola fries up a fois gras doughnut filled with a rhubarb jam.

With their instructions in hand, I came up with this fruity fritter, which works as both a breakfast and a dessert.

Raspberry Fritters
Makes about 20 fritters

1 3/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp salt
2/3 c. + 1 tbs buttermilk
2 large eggs, separated
2 1/2 tbs butter, melted and cooled
(1) 6 oz container fresh raspberries, rinsed and thoroughly dried
5 to 6 c. canola or peanut oil, for frying
powdered sugar

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, lemon zest, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg yolks, and butter. Slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. The batter will be stiff, almost like a dough. In a clean dry bowl, beat the egg whites until the reach medium peaks and then fold into the batter. Lastly fold in the clean and dried raspberries. Try to keep the raspberries mostly intact, but some breakage is okay. Allow the batter to chill until the oil is hot.

In a large, heavy bottomed dutch oven add about 1 1/2 inches of oil (about 5-6 cups). Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the pot and slowly, over medium heat, allow the oil to reach 350 degrees.

Using a tablespoon or a small ice cream scoop, drop tablespoon size balls of batter into the oil and allow the fritters to fry until golden brown, turning as needed with a slotted spoon or strainer, about 4 minutes. Do not overcrowd the oil or the temperature will drop too much. Don’t worry if the raspberries on the outside turn darker than the dough, the natural sugar will caramelize faster, but they are not burnt. Allow finished fritters to drain on paper towel then top with powdered sugar and serve.