These are sweet, but not overly sweet. They are delicious as is, or with whipped cream, sour cream, jam or ice cream.
Food Editor's Notes: This is a great variation of Chanukah "sufganiyot" (doughnuts) that will be a hit at your holiday party or any time you want a special dessert. The apples make this fried treat special, as does the brandy, which adds "adult" flavor but is not overwhelming at all. As Marcy says, these are not too sweet (which is good), but you can sprinkle them with as much powdered sugar as you like when serving, or have each person "dust" their own. I made these using soy milk, because I wanted to see what the pareve version tasted like. They were so good, you would never be able distinguish a pareve substitute for the milk. I also made this with both Granny Smith and red delicious apples and they were equally good. Marcy says that you may have to add some extra liquid if the batter is too thick (this is somewhat subjective); I in fact added a couple extra tablespoons. Serve these apple doughnuts hot, while they're still crispy and fresh – it's worth the last-minute frying, which only takes a few minutes anyway.
6 medium apples
1/3 cup brandy
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, separated
3 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup milk or soy milk
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar
Vegetable oil for frying
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Preparing the apple rings must be done at least 2 hours prior to frying and can be done up to a day ahead. Choose a good container that the apples can marinate in – either a shallow bowl, plastic container with a lid, or a zip-top plastic bag. Peel and core the apples. Slice them into 1/2-inch thick rings and put them into the container. Mix the brandy, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla together and pour over the apples. Put the apple mixture into the refrigerator to marinate for several hours or up to a day.
To make the batter, beat the egg white until stiff. In a separate bowl, whisk the yolk and gradually add the sugar and milk. Sift the flour, baking powder and confectioners' sugar together. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together. Drain the apples and add the marinade to the batter. Blend the egg whites into the batter. If the batter is too thick, add a little more milk until it is a good consistency – thin enough for dipping, but not runny.
Add oil to a frying pan and heat over medium heat. When the oil is hot, dip the apple rings into the batter to coat, remove them and put them in the frying pan. Fry them until brown, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the apples from the pan and drain on absorbent paper. [Food Editor's note: Take caution in placing the rings in the pan and turning, as the hot oil splatters easily. Use a spatula and a fork or tongs to help. I use a brown paper bag to absorb the oil while keeping the doughnuts crisp, as with latkes.] Serve hot garnished with confectioners' sugar.