Sunday, February 6, 2011

I just came for the appelflappen

If you spend some time looking up the finer details of Dutch cuisine (and I know you want to) you will find some discussion about the celebratory food of New Year's Eve. Alongside the oliebollen (oily balls! yummers!) you find a note about "apple folds"aka appelflappen, a short pastry filled with bits of apple not unlike a turnover.

That is not my appelflappen.

My appelflappen (I love the word so much, even if spell check doesn't.) is entirely a product of my experiences at the Big E, the Eastern States Exposition, the greatest fair anywhere ever. You can have your county fair. Your state fair, with its butter cows and demolition derbies or whatever? Not even close to the Big E. You see, the Big E wasn't just for my piddly little New England state. It was for all of them. Oh yeah! You could get maple sugar candy at the Vermont building, wait in line forever for the tiniest, most wonderful sample of wild blueberry ice cream at the Maine building. And standing proud among the fried doughs and turkey legs was the Appelflappen.

Appelflappen! A deep fried, beer battered apple ring served hot with powdered sugar. And if you were bold enough to suggest aloud that it was not simply a reason to go to the Big E but *the* reason to go to the Big E, a bell would ring, angels would chorus and you would get an extra piece.

You know I always got an extra piece.

Sadly, I hear there is no longer appelflappen at the Big E, and what I make at home, with its microbrewed beer and heirloom apples, could be construed as an elitist Portlandia version. Instead, I recognize it for what it is, a tribute to a very sweet taste memory.

Appelflappen, Big E style

The key here is getting a good baking apple, not one that cooks into sauce, but can stand up to the rigors of battering and frying. A tart apple is a nice contrast to the batter and powdered sugar.

2 c all purpose flour
1 egg
12 oz beer (I used a Pyramid Apricot Ale which was lovely, but any beer you'll drink will do)
a pinch of sugar
a pinch of salt
4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into rings
oil for frying
powdered sugar for dusting

1. Mix together flour, sugar, salt and the egg. Slowly add the beer while whisking to form a smooth batter

2. Heat the oil over medium heat until hot

3. Dip the apple rings in the batter and gently place in the hot oil

4. Fry the apple rings, turning over as necessary, until the rings are a lovely golden brown (how dark your batter will get will depend on the beer you use, use your best judgement).

5. Drain on paper towels, dust with powdered sugar, eat while still warm. Don't forget to give yourself the extra one.


Kris said...

If I fried things, and had the patience to peel apples, I'd be all over this! Sounds absolutely delightful.

queenofsheba said...

The peeling apples thing, I have one of those nifty corer peeler gadgets that makes these too easy... it's probably a good thing I don't like to deep fry often.

Anonymous said...

The AppleFlappen vendor was a big part of the charm of the Big E. Thay has a great product and a clever 'bell ringing routine'. "I only came for the appleflappen" is a great memory (...and a bit true) Go Dutch!

Anonymous said...

i cant believe 2 comments is all this got over the years. I miss my appelflappen. it really was the best reason to go to the big e. it was a family tradition for my entire life till they just disappeared. wish i knew how to contact the original owner for the recipe they used.

Carmen said...

Never been to the Big E, but my mother used to make these every new years eve (actually old years eve in Holland), these and oliebollen. Love them both, miss them both. Mom still made oliebollen well into her 70's, but not anymore. As for the appelflappen, it's been many years since I had one! I must try making them myself. :)

Anonymous said...

Ijust came for the Appelflappen. oh how much I miss them, that was the reason we went to the big e. Why aren't they there anymore? Wish they would return.