Bananas Foster Fritters

As with life in general, I have noticed that my cooking life has gone through various phases. There was the cake phase, the cookie phase, the anything chocolate and anything caramel phases, and perhaps inevitably, there was the frying phase. I dipped my toe in the frying waters ever so gently with these addictive banana fritters, and from there I started frying everything I could get my hands on: chicken, doughnuts, and dumplings. These fritters are quick, easy, and surprisingly tasty little snacks. The banana flavor really shines through. I last brought them out for an afternoon book-group/coffee-club meeting, and there were many requests for seconds. Treat the rum sauce as optional if you like, but it’s well worth the effort. By the by, the rum sauce is awfully tasty on pancakes, French toast, and drizzled on hearty bread puddings.

Ingredients

For Rum Dipping Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon banana liqueur (or pure vanilla extract)
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • Pinch cinnamon (optional)

For the Fritter Dough

  • cups all-purpose flour, plus more if needed
  • 3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 medium ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 teaspoon banana liqueur or pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

Method

Make the Rum Dipping Sauce

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the liqueur, rum, and cinnamon, if using. Set aside until serving time. (The sauce can be made ahead. Allow it to cool, then cover it tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Rewarm it over low heat in a saucepan or microwave it in short 15-second blasts before serving.)

Make the Fritter Dough

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, all-spice, and ½ teaspoon of the cinnamon. Use your hands to rub the chunks of sugar into the flour mixture and whisk again (it is okay to have a few chunky sugar pieces remaining).

In another large bowl, mash the bananas with your hands or a heavy spoon and stir in the rum, liqueur, and butter.

Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the banana mixture. The mix should look wet, but it should still hold its shape when scooped into a small ball. If the dough is too thin, keep folding in flour 1 tablespoon at a time until it stiffens up. Refrigerate the dough while the frying oil heats and you prepare the sugar topping.

Pour enough oil into a deep skillet to fill it ¾ inch to 1 inch deep. Slowly heat the oil over medium-high heat until it registers 375 degrees F on a deep-frying thermometer.

While the oil heats, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.

Fry the Fritters

Line a plate with a double layer of paper towels and set it near your work area.

Using a small spatula and a small spoon, two spoons, or an ice cream scoop with a release mechanism, drop heaping spoonfuls of dough into the oil. Do not crowd the skillet. Cook until the fritters have browned on one side, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, turn them over and continue to cook for another 2 minutes, or until browned. Do not overcook or burn the fritters. Use the slotted spoon to transfer the fritters to the prepared plate and continue frying dough until finished.

Place the fritters on a serving plate and sift the cinnamon sugar over them. Serve immediately with rum dipping sauce.