Southern Fried Apples: Southern Dessert Or Side
by Esme Addison
During the fall, I purposely seek out ways to eat more apples. And one of my favorite ways, one of the easiest ways to almost get the taste of an apple pie without all of the work is to fry up some apples. One of the things I like about this dish is that it can be served as a southern dessert… or a side.
You’re literally making the filling for apple pie and it can all be done in about fifteen minutes. Top it with whipped cream, custard or ice cream for an elevated dish. Serve it alongside fried chicken or ham as the perfect complement to your main.
I personally like it alone. Not as a southern dessert or side. Just as a dish, possibly served with milky coffee or tea.
Today, I had a hankering for apple anything, so I set aside two Fuji apples, then went into my pantry to see what I can find. The ingredients for my southern fried apples include ingredients that I also happen to always have in my kitchen. Staples like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice are staples. I don’t know about you, but I always have these spices at home.
And then you just need a sweetener for the apples. If you want them sweeter than they naturally are. Apples can be fried without it. They are sweet by themselves. And if you had cider to the mix like I do, that could be just sweet enough.
But I have to admit, I do like to add a splash of maple syrup to my apples as well. I enjoy using all of the flavors of autumn in my cooking when I can. So if maple syrup makes sense, I use that instead of sugar. But for this recipe: white sugar, brown sugar, or all natural, organic vanilla sugar also works. Natural sugar sweeteners like monk fruit also can be used.
I usually add vanilla extract – and I was out of it on this day but I did have vanilla syrup for coffee that I used as a last minute substitute.
Many fried apple recipes call for Granny Smith apples, but I’m not a fan of tart apples. I want them sweet and crisp like Fuji apples. You can use what you have on hand, but I wouldn’t suggest Red Delicious as they get mushy and don’t hold up under frying well.
I am a big proponent of eyeballing ingredients and taste-taste-tasting while cooking to make sure everything is flavored just the way I want it. Of course, I make sure to use clean utensils when I do this each time.
This is not the prettiest culinary photoshoot but it is realistic. I didn’t plan on writing this recipe up or taking photographs, but I want to share all the apple recipes I make this fall so it’s here. No planning. But it turned out well. And so can your recipe – with just a few ingredients and a short amount of time.
If you’re cooking for one, half this recipe for one serving (Or enjoy the leftovers later!)
Earlier, I mentioned that you’re basically eating apple pie in a cup. Well, you can further that idea by adding pieces of day old biscuit sauteed in butter and lightly sprinkled with sea salt to the fried apples and toss for apple cobbler in a cup.
If you happen to make your apples too sweet (yep, there is such a thing.) this is a great way to sop up some of that sugary goodness.
Toasted buttery brioche or challah bread will also do. Maybe croissant? Skies the limit. 🙂
Yum. Yum ya’ll.
Esme Addison’s Fried Southern Apples
- 4 Fuji Apples
- 1/2 cup apple cider
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter or refined coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 vanilla pod
- 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar or a splash of maple syrup or vanilla simple sugar (less or more to taste)
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 pinches of ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch of salt
- Peel, core, and chop apples (I like mine chunky.)
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat
- Drop butter or coconut oil into pan and let it melt
- Add the apples and fry for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently
- Add the sweetener, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla and salt
- Stir apples to coat with spices and sweetener
- Taste apples and make sure they are flavored to your liking
- Add apple cider, turn up heat to medium-high for a minute or two to reduce the cider, allowing the flavors of the cider to mix with the apples. Stir frequently
- Return to cool and cook the apples until tender to your liking