January 01, 2011

First Breakfast of the New Year: Pear Fritters with Lemon and Ginger, from Fine Cooking

Our New Year's celebration consists of a three-day weekend (Friday through Sunday).  Neither of us works on Sunday, which is a rarity for us, but we figured we'd go ahead and take off the whole weekend, since today is our eighth wedding anniversary.  I've been spending the bulk of the time in the kitchen, with some assist from Juli.   I'll be reporting on all the great cooking we're doing in the days to come, but I wanted to share what we had for breakfast on the first day of 2011. 

The latest issue of Fine Cooking (December 2010/January 2011) featured an informative article about pears - different types, their flavors and textures and which serve best for different sorts of cooking - and several recipes.  The recipe that caught my eye was for Pear Fritters with Lemon and Ginger.   Balls of tasty, moist dough made with ginger, lemon zest and diced pears, deep-fried then rolled in cinnamon-sugar... not exactly diet fare, but it sounded good for a holiday breakfast.  So, I tried out the recipe today.

I should note that I made a few changes from the recipe as written.  The written recipe called for both fresh lemon zest and freshy-grated ginger.  I love both, and normally I would have used those, but I wanted the pear flavor to dominate and I was also worried about the dough being too moist, so I used smaller amounts of powdered ginger and lemon zest while bumping up the amount of pear by adding an extra half pear. 

This recipe gave me a chance to try out something I got for Xmas:  a clip-on thermometer for use in deep frying, making candy and so forth.  I clipped it to the side of my small Tramontina Dutch oven, added a couple cups of canola oil and heated the oil.  When it was ready, I dropped groups of two-tablespoon globs of the dough (scooped out with a cookie scoop) into the hot oil, fried them until golden-brown, then transferred them to a plate lined with paper towels.  They were then rolled in the cinnamon sugar, and a few batches later, they were ready to eat.

These really were quite tasty.  They were so moist inside, I initially questioned whether they'd cooked through, but examining one showed that yes, they were done, but the bits of pear provided a lot of moisture.  The fritters were quite fluffy, due to well-beaten egg yolks having been carefully folded into the dough.  Our new Cuisinart stand mixer did a great job of beating the egg whites all nice and fluffy.

All in all, these fritters made for a pretty good breakfast.  I had mine with hot cocoa and a glass of milk, while Juli had coffee with hers.  We both thought this a pretty good start to a New Year.

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