Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Pudding Heaven - Banana Fritters with Salted Caramel Sauce
In an earlier life I worked in a chippy come sandwich shop which did a roaring trade during the Summer months in the seaside town where I grew up. And whilst it was mostly dull and convinced me a life in catering was really not for me, it did have some memorable moments like 'U can't touch this' by M C Hammer blaring out of the radio almost non stop it seemed, grating part of my finger into the cheese used for the sandwiches (I didn't realise I could bleed so profusely) and, in the slower times, the battering experiment, which basically entailed looking at what there was left to sell, covering it in the batter used for the fish, frying it off and sampling, almost Masterchef stylee. Amongst frying failures were tuna sandwiches, segments of orange, and tomatoes (not nice) and amongst the successes were Mars Bars (we may have been doing this long before the Scots ever happened upon it) sausages, corned beef sandwiches and bananas. Battered bananas. Amazing.
So, wind forward 20 years or so (!) and after last year's 'pudding of the holiday', banana fritters with vanilla ice cream from a wonderful Italian restaurant in Paphos, plus ny recent clearing of the plate of banana fritters at a Chinese 'all you can eat' buffet, I decided that now was the time to recreate the dish of my teenage years.
The recipe I used is a tweaking of Gino D'Acampo's recipe in his fantastic book 'Buomissimo', of which every recipe I have tried has been soooo good, but then I adore Italian food. This pudding is not the thing you make in advance, (though you can make the sauce earlier) but the battering and frying has to be done in real time. I am sure your eager diners will be patient and though your kitchen might be a bit oil splattered afterwards, it will be totally worth it.
Banana Fritters with Salted Caramel Sauce, adapted from 'Buonissimo' by Gino D'Acampo
Serves Mum, Dad, Lola and Finn with lots of caramel sauce leftover (perfect for drizzling on vanilla ice cream)
For the salted caramel sauce:
90g salted butter
200g soft brown sugar
120ml double cream
a small pinch of sea salt crystals (optional)
For the fritters:
125g self raising flour
190ml fizzy water (From an unopened bottle; fizz is key!)
3 - 4 bananas depending on size of bananas, appetite, etc.
Plus vegetable oil for deep frying
Icing sugar for dusting
To make the caramel sauce, place the butter and sugar in a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted and the sugar has amalgamated into the melted butter. Add the cream and combine. It might splutter, so be careful. Bring the mixture to the boil and reduce the heat and simmer until you have a smooth sauce. Set aside. When cool enough, taste. If you want the texture of some salt crystals then sprinkle some in just before you serve the sauce.
For the batter, sift the flour into a bowl, add the egg and the fizzy water. Stir until the liquid is smooth and there are no lumps.
Heat the oil in a pan which is deep enough to combine the amount of oil required and the splattering that will occur. (I had about an inch of oil in my small frying pan). Test the temperature of the oil by dropping a cube of bread in the oil or drip a little of the batter in. It should fizz and brown quite quickly.
Chop the bananas into pieces and coat the pieces in the batter a few at a time. Place the battered bananas into the oil very carefully (use a slotted spoon). Don't overcrowd the pan. The fritters should cook within a couple of minutes when they should be golden brown, crispy and warmed through.
Drain the pieces on kitchen paper whilst you repeat the process with the remaining bananas.
Serve the bananas immediately, wth a dusting of icing sugar, and a generous drizzle (or dollop if you prefer) of the caramel sauce and some vanilla ice cream. Salty, sweet, hot and cold in one mouthful. Pudding heaven!