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Sweet Fritters with Red Wine and Star Anise Sauce

Many home cooks shy away from deep frying both because it is a little intimidating and because it can be messy. Neither need be the case. The key to deep frying is making sure that the oil is always in what I call the “magic range” of 350 to 375°F (175 to 190°C). This requires that you get yourself a deep fry thermometer, one that clips right on the side of the pot so that you can easily monitor temperature. Don’t drop anything in until the temperature is in the magic range; stop adding ingredients when it falls to 350°F (175°C). It’s when you let the temperature drop that oil is absorbed and the food gets leaden and heavy. And above 375°F (190°C), the oil is too hot and the food browns or burns before it is cooked through. Foods fried in the magic range, whether sweet or savory, come out crisp, light, and not greasy. As to the mess factor, you don’t need all that much oil to deep fry most things. About an inch of oil in a big pot minimizes splatter and makes cleanup easy. Discard the oil after using it.–John Ash

Sweet Fritters with Red Wine and Star Anise Sauce Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • For the sauce
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup medium- or full-bodied red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 3 whole star anise
  • One 3-inch strip of orange zest
  • For the fritters
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • For serving
  • Red Wine and Star Anise Sauce, or other sauce of your choice
  • 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
  • Garnish if you like with powdered sugar

Directions

  • Make the sauce
  • 1. Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, stir to dissolve the cornstarch, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer slowly, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Let the syrup cool for safety while pouring, and then pour it through a strainer, pressing down on the solids. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
  • Make the fritters
  • 2. Place the butter in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, dump in the flour all at once, and with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer, beat in the flour to form a smooth paste. Beat in the lemon juice, zest, and vanilla. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Be sure to thoroughly incorporate each egg before adding the next.
  • 3. Preheat the oven to 225°F (108°C). Heat 1 inch of oil in a deep skillet or wok to 360°F (182°C). Working in batches, drop rounded tablespoons of dough into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Be careful not to crowd the fritters. Drain on paper towels and keep warm on a baking sheet in the oven for up to 20 minutes.
  • For serving
  • 4. Place a shallow pool of warm sauce in individual serving bowls. Place 3 or 4 fritters on top. Scatter on sliced berries and dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.
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