THE WASHINGTON POST – In high school, I’d look forward to going to the neighbourhood shopping mall on the weekends. Not for the newest sneaker, but for the cinnamon fritters served fresh out of the hot oil and tossed with cinnamon sugar.
I can still remember how fluffy and soft they were. They inspired me to experiment with creating my own and led me to this crisp, fried peach version.
I love making fritters at home because there’s room for improvisation. For this recipe, the batter contains a blend of cornmeal and all-purpose flour. Combining them helps to create a tender texture that makes it suitable for a variety of add-ins.
For a savoury fritter, you can add fun mix-ins, such as cheese, corn kernels and/or other adjacent savoury flavours. This can help you use up bits of leftovers, too.
Or you can dive into seasonal fruit, as I did with this recipe, which highlights the flavours of the summer produce by using peaches as well as peach preserves to give the fritters a burst of bright, fruity flavours. Use ripe, fresh peaches in the summer. Frozen or canned peaches work well year-round.
I’ve always loved how this stone fruit pairs with cinnamon and brown sugar, so I make a glaze, which I spoon over the fritters as a finishing touch. But you could also drizzle your favourite syrup or add a dollop of soft whipped cream.
What’s beautiful about the sweet version of these fritters is that once you get it down, you can make them year-round by substituting your favourite seasonal fruits, such as strawberries in the spring or apples in the fall.
PEACH FRITTERS WITH MAPLE SAUCE
Six servings (makes 12 fritters)
Food writer Will Coleman’s tender, fluffy fritter recipe highlights summer peaches by using chopped fruit and preserves. You can use fresh, frozen or canned and drained peaches. If using fresh peaches, make sure they are ripe and fragrant or your fritters won’t taste as peachy.
Storage Notes: The fritters are best eaten right away; store leftovers in an airtight container for up to one day.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE FRITTERS
One cup (125 grammes) all-purpose flour
Half-cup (89 grammes) finely ground cornmeal
One-and-a-half teaspoons baking powder
Half-teaspoon fine salt
One large egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature
Six ounces peaches, finely chopped (if using fresh peaches, see NOTE)
Three-quarter-cup (180 millilitres) well-shaken buttermilk
Three tablespoons peach preserves
Two tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling
FOR THE MAPLE SAUCE
Half-cup (120 millilitres) maple syrup
Quarter-cup (60 millilitres) water
Quarter-cup (55 grammes) packed light brown sugar
One (three-inch) cinnamon stick or half-teaspoon ground
One teaspoon vanilla extract
Make the fritter batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt until combined. Add the egg, peaches, buttermilk, preserves and vegetable oil and stir together until thoroughly combined; set aside.
Make the maple-bourbon sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the maple syrup, water, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half, eight to 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, transfer to a small heatproof bowl and set aside.
Make the fritters: In a large Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet, add enough oil to come half-inch up the sides, and heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 350 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant-read thermometer. (If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, test the oil by dropping a small bit of the batter in the oil; if it immediately starts to vigorously sizzle and bubble, the oil is ready.)
While the oil heats, line a wire rack with paper towels.
Working in batches, either using a three-tablespoon measure or disher number 24, gently slide the fritters into the oil.
Fry until golden brown, turning the fritters over halfway through, about six minutes total.
Adjust the heat as needed to ensure that the oil temperature does not exceed 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fritters to the prepared rack.
Transfer the fritters to a platter or individual plates.
Spoon the sauce over the fritters, top with a sprinkle of the flaky salt and serve warm.
NOTE: Fresh peaches are best here, but you can also use unsweetened (or very lightly sweetened) canned or sliced frozen peaches.
To peel whole peaches, fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
Score a long, shallow ‘X’ into the bottom of each peach before lowering them into the boiling water. Let them boil for 30 seconds to one minute, or until the peels start to loosen.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to the ice bath and let them cool for a few minutes. Drain, peel, pit and slice the peaches before continuing with the recipe.