Squash Fritters with Maple Syrup

Here's a healthy twist on decadent deep-fried desserts: Martin Blunos's sugar-crusted, beer-battered fritters filled with a luscious vanilla-scented butternut purée
By Martin Blunos
Squash Fritters with Maple Syrup
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time:
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus standing time
  • Effort: hard

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-large butternut squash
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 100 g cornflour
  • 1.5 litres vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • maple syrup, to serve

For the beer batter

  • 250 ml beer
  • 1/4 tsp fresh yeast
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 180 g plain flour
  • pinches salt
  • pinches sugar

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170C/gas 3. Halve the squash lengthways and scoop out the seeds and pith. Split the vanilla pod lengthways and curl the husks into the hole where the squash seeds were. Place the halves of the squash together again and wrap tightly in foil. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes until the squash is soft and cooked right through.

2. Remove the foil from around the squash. Using a metal spoon, scrape the squash flesh into a blender. Remove the seeds from the vanilla pod with a pointed knife and add them to the blender along with the mixed spice and sugar. Purée the mixture.

3. Transfer the squash mixture to a saucepan and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, to gently dry it out. Do not allow the purée to catch or burn on the base of the pan. The mixture is ready when it is very dry. Set aside to cool.

4. To make the batter, mix the beer and yeast together in a jug, then add the vinegar.

5. Sift the flour, salt and sugar into a mixing bowl. Stir in the beer mixture to give a smooth and creamy batter, adding more beer if the mixture is too thick. Set aside for 20 minutes before use.

6. Heat the oil to 180C in a deep-fat fryer.

7. Place the cornflour on a plate. Roll the cooled squash paste into balls about the size of a small walnut, then roll them in the cornflour to lightly coat. Shake off any excess cornflour.

8. Working in small batches, dip the squash balls in the batter then transfer to the hot oil and deep-fry until golden.

9. Drain the fritters on kitchen paper. While they are still hot, carefully roll the fritters in caster sugar and serve straight away with maple syrup.

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