Beignets de Pruneaux

Prune Fritters

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes about

    16

    beignets.

Appears in

To my mind, ‘prune fritters’ sounds too dismal for words, as if a wartime cook has come to the end of her tether. But look to the French name and once you try this slightly adapted recipe from Ethelind Fearon’s The Marquis, the Mayonnaise and Me, the tale of her days running a villa in Cannes, I suspect you’ll be won over.

Ingredients

  • 225 g(8 oz) – about 16 – large prunes
  • 1 wineglass half red wine/half hot water
  • caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot

Marzipan

  • 55 g(2 oz) ground almonds
  • 30 g(1 oz) caster sugar
  • 30 g(1 oz) icing sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon brandy
  • or use 115 g(4 oz) prepared white marzipan

Batter

  • 55 g(2 oz) flour
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower oil
  • 1 egg white
  • sunflower oil for deep frying

Method

Soak the prunes in the wine and water for 2 hours; cook gently for 15 minutes. Strain off the juice, add a little sugar to sweeten and thicken with the arrowroot over moderate heat until clear. Keep the sauce hot until ready to serve. Remove the stones from the prunes.

To make the marzipan, work the almonds, sugars, egg yolk and brandy together to make a smooth paste. Divide into 16 pieces and roll each into a small egg shape. Tuck one inside each prune.

For the batter: beat the flour and salt with the warm water and the oil until smooth. Whisk the egg white until stiff and fold into the batter.

Dip each prune into the batter, then drop into the very hot deep fat. Fry for 2–3 minutes until golden. Drain on kitchen paper and serve straight away while still crisp with the wine sauce, or dust with vanilla sugar and eat with the fingers.

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