Leche frita with poached lemon & vanilla plums

by Fiona Smith | Cuisine issue #156
Serves: 4These Spanish milk fritters should be made a day ahead then fried just before serving. The plums can also be made a day in advance.

Traditionally these fritters are deep-fried, but I prefer to panfry them. You will need a good non-stick frying pan though, as they are delicate and can stick.

1⁄2 cup raw sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
zest of 1 lemon
4 large or 8-12 small plums
2@1⁄2 tablespoons light olive or sunflower oil
30g flour
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1⁄4 cup skim milk powder
1 tablespoon cornflour
500ml whole milk
2 tablespoons instant polenta
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Put the raw sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and 1@1⁄2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the plums and gently simmer for 10 minutes (a little less if they’re small). Remove the plums with a slotted spoon then increase the heat and boil the syrup until reduced by half. Set aside to cool then return the plums to the syrup and set aside.

Use 1⁄2 tablespoon oil to lightly oil a 18cm x 18cm shallow baking dish.

Mix together the flour, caster sugar, milk powder and cornflour. Add 1-2 tablespoons milk, adding a little at a time and stirring until you have a loose paste, with no lumps.

Put the remaining milk in a saucepan and heat until just about boiling. Carefully stir in the milk paste then the polenta and continue stirring for a few minutes until the mixture is thick. Quickly beat in the egg yolk then pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, turn out the mixture and cut into 12 pieces.

Heat the remaining oil and butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Fry the fritters for 2 minutes each side or until light brown, turning carefully.

Serve with the plums and syrup.

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