Pear fritters with fennel sugar
- September 2012
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 100g caster sugar
- 4 large, ripe but firm pears (see Debbie’s tip)
For the batter
- 100g plain flour
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 5 tbsp melted semi-salted butter
- 150ml whole milk
- Vegetable oil for deep-frying
- 2 free-range egg whites
- For the batter, sift the flour and sugar into a bowl. Make a well in the centre, then add the melted butter and milk. Gradually beat until smooth. Set aside for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, grind the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar until quite fine. Stir in the sugar, then tip into a small baking tray.
- Heat the deep-frying oil to 180°C or until a bit of bread dropped in browns in 30 seconds. Have a large tray lined with plenty of kitchen paper to hand. Peel the pears, slice each into 6 wedges, then cut away the core.
- Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then fold into the batter. Dip the pear wedges, 3 or 4 at a time, into the batter. Lift each out in turn and lower into the hot oil with tongs, holding each one briefly suspended in the oil before you let go (this will seal the outside and prevent it from sticking to the base of the pan or frying basket). Deep-fry for 4 minutes, flipping them over halfway through, until crisp and golden brown. Drain briefly on the kitchen paper, toss in the tray of fennel-seed sugar while still hot, then serve straightaway.
The pears for this dish must be ripe but still firm, with a good balance of acidity and sweetness – taste them before cooking. Serve the fritters straightaway while hot and crispy. They go well with a scoop of ice cream, dollop of crème fraîche or glug of extra-thick double cream.
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