I was at the Horton Farmers’ Market in St. Thomas, Ontario and someone handed me what looked like a flat sugar donut. It was almost hot and the insides squished warm cream into my mouth while the soft apple inside caved so lusciously to my bite and it all finished with a sweet and crunchy ending of the coarse cinnamon sugar outside – oh, yummmmmm.
They call these little pillows of heaven apple fritters – somehow that just doesn’t do this amazing market pastry justice. The young girl selling them doesn’t understand my over excitement as she stands over dozens and dozens of them, ready to sell them to market shoppers. It’s a local delicacy and they’re well known to those who live in St. Thomas.
Baker Jacques Vanrign takes pride in being the inventor and his process is rather labour intensive. As the girl describes it I’m reminded of making ravioli.
Large sheets of sweet dough are rolled out, slices of fresh apple are placed inches apart across the entire dough surface. Next a spoonful of Bavarian cream and a dab of almond paste is placed on top of each apple slice and a top layer of dough is placed overtop. Next the dough is gently pressed down to separate the apples and they’re cut out with a large, round cookie cutter. The apple fritters are then deep fried and covered with coarse sugar with just a kiss of cinnamon.
They sell for $1.25 each, wrapped in a napkin and customers walk around the market shopping, visiting and eating the fresh, seasonal, heavenly apple treat. Other than market day, you can buy them at The Dutch Bakery in town.
It’s the season for Vanrign’s exquisite bites of heaven so get to St. Thomas and buy them by the dozen.