Wartime Recipes – Apple Fritters

Today I attempted apple fritters for the first time using a recipe provided by the Ministry of Food during the period of rationing just after WW2.

The recipe comes from the March 1946 Ministry of Food leaflet entitled ‘Fritters’. During 1946 food rationing was still in place in Britain (this would not end completely until 1954), therefore advising on wartime economy and alternatives can be seen in the instructions.

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To make the apple fritters I first made the batter using the recipe provided and I used one fresh egg (as dried egg is actually harder to come by now than the fresh variety), flour, 1/2 pint of milk and water (roughly 3/4 milk, 1/4 water) and no salt.

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The recipe doesn’t say how many apples this batter recipe can be used with, so I decided on 3 eating apples, enough for one each in my family, which actually only used up about half of the batter mixture.

After coring and slicing the apples I put a few rings into the batter mix at a time to ensure they were coated and then fried in a shallow pan, using enough oil (I used olive oil which was still available at the beginning of the war, with lard probably being the best alternative frying substance when this became scarce) to completely cover the base of the pan.

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Lessons learnt from this first attempt:

  • Thinner slices of apple definitely work better, I would recommend slices 3-4mm thick at most.
  • To achieve a crispier batter a deep fat fryer or chip pan frying method might work better to avoid the apple sitting in the oil for too long and absorbing it. (Also cooking in a shallow pan throws up the challenge of trying to turn the apple without getting boiling hot oil splattered on your hands.)
  • Ensure the apple has cooked for long enough to become soft all the way through (thinner slices makes this process far easier) as this makes the apple taste far sweeter (without the need of adding sugar, which was heavily rationed during and after the war).
  • These are definitely not a health snack alternative due to the amount of oil that can be absorbed by the apple.

Over all I would say my first attempt at apple fritters earned a 3/5 for taste and appearance, however with practice I’m sure this could be improved.

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