Recipe: WARM PEAR AND CINNAMON FRITTERS
- 8 cups cold water
- 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 firm Bartlett pears
- 2 and 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of coarse salt
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup cornstarch
- Approximately 4 cups vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
This is an American’s take on the classic French wine-poached pear. It is a simple dessert with only one problem — the fritters must be made just before serving, since they must be served warm and they do not reheat well. The pears can be poached in advance and the batter made early in the day, but the whole she-bang has to come together at the last minute.
1. Combine the water with 2 cups of the sugar and the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan.
2. Peel the pears and remove the stems, if any. Place the peeled pears in the water mixture over high heat. Bring to a boil; lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pears are tender when pierced with the point of a small, sharp knife.
3. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pears from the poaching liquid, reserving the liquid. Transfer the pears onto a plate and lightly cover with plastic wrap. Place in the refrigerator and allow to cool. Place the liquid in a nonreactive container, cover, and refrigerate.
4. When the pears are cool, cut them in half lengthwise and remove the cores. Slice each half lengthwise into 3 equal wedges. Place the wedges in the reserved poaching liquid until ready to fry. (This may be done up to three days in advance.)
5. Combine 1 and 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon of the flour with the baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk the wine, canola oil, and vanilla extract into the flour. Add the egg yolks and whisk to blend.
6. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until frothy. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter (This may be done up to three hours in advance).
7. Combine the remaining flour and the cornstarch in a shallow bowl. Set aside.
8. When ready to fry, heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fat fryer or deep saucepan over high heat to 350 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
9. Remove the pear wedges from the liquid and pat dry. One at a time, dredge the wedges into the flour-cornstarch mixture and then dip them into the batter. Place the batter-coated pear wedges into the hot oil, without crowding the pan, and fry for about 1 minute per side or until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, lift the fritters from the oil and drain on a double thickness of paper towel. Transfer to a platter and sprinkle the fritters with the confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt, if desired.