Green Chile–Spiced Apple Fritters
Harvest time (and apple desserts, especially) are classically associated with fall warming spices, like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. However, I recently visited Santa Fe, New Mexico, and learned about one particular “spice” that’s indigenous to the Americas and was also one of the first crops grown by Native Americans: the chile pepper.I don’t remember any chile peppers hanging out of the cornucopias that adorned my classroom walls at Thanksgiving time—it was always apples, corn, and squash. But chile peppers have been cultivated for at least 10,000 years—nearly twice as long as corn. Chile peppers are as American as apple pie!While in Santa Fe, I learned that New Mexicans celebrate chile peppers of both the green and red variety. The only difference between the two is when they’re picked. Early-picked green chiles have a milder, more earthy flavor; red peppers are fully ripened, and thus are fiery and sweet with much more heat. Given the mild, herb-like flavor of green chile peppers, I thought they’d be a perfect complement to one of fall’s biggest fan foods—apples.Whoo’s Donuts in downtown Santa Fe confirmed my suspicions with their Green Chile Apple Fritter. Their apple fritters are more donut-like, while the recipe I created is closer to fried pancake batter, chock-full of large pieces of apples and dusted with a sugar–green chile mix. There’s just enough of the mild green chile powder (available at hatch-green-chile.com) in these fritters to awaken your taste buds, making the apples taste even more apple-y.The batter for the fritters is made like many quick breads: combine the dry ingredients in one bowl and the liquids in a separate bowl. You simply whisk the two together, then fold in the cubed apples, and fry in batches of 4 to 5 fritters at a time by lowering the fritter batter right into the oil a tablespoon at a time. Once fried, coat the fritters in the sugar-chile mix and serve warm. They’re not too sweet, so these crispy fritters are a perfect treat for breakfast on a cool fall morning with a hot cup of tea or a chai latte.