Deep-fried milk with cinnamon star anise syrup

Serve up a stylish dessert with Alan Coxon's creative recipe for a distinctive dairy dish, served with an aromatic syrup
By Alan Coxon
Deep-fried milk with cinnamon star anise syrup
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus cooling and chilling
  • Effort: medium



  • 250 ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 60 g plain flour, plus extra for dredging
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 85 g sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg, grated
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1 tsp water
  • peanut or corn oil, for deep-frying
  • sprig of mint

For the cinnamon star anise syrup:

  • 450 ml water
  • 225 g sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise
  • zest of 1 lemons
  • 2 chillies
  • splash of Cointreau, or Grand Marnier


1. In a saucepan, bring the milk and vanilla pod to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile in a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and stir in the flour, cornflour and 1 tbsp of the sugar.

3. Whisk in the hot milk, a little at a time.

4. Return the milk to a clean, non-stick saucepan and whisk over gentle heat.

5. Stir constantly until a very thick and smooth custard forms.

6. Remove the vanilla pod and whisk briefly to eliminate any lumps.

7. Remove from the heat, stirring occasionally to release steam.

8. Pour the custard into a greased 20cm square tin.

9. Leave to cool, then place into the refrigerator, lightly covered until the vanilla custard has solidified.

10. Meanwhile, make the syrup. Heat the water in a pan and add in the sugar, stirring until dissolved.

11. Add in the cinnamon, star anise, lemon zest, chillies and simmer over a low heat until syrupy, around 15 minutes. Strain.

12. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and keep aside.

13. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla essence and a tsp of water.

14. Cut the firm custard into 5cm squares.

15. Heat the oil for deep frying in a deep fat-fryer or wok to 190°C.

16. Dredge the custard squares in flour, then dip carefully into the beaten egg mixture.

17. Carefully drop the custard squares into the hot oil and dry until golden, turning only once.

18. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.

19. Dust the deep-fried custard with the cinnamon mixture and serve with the syrup drizzled over.

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