"I first encountered these at my 10-year high-school reunion. We enjoyed a very traditional braai and salad spread, with the addition of a massive tray of these fritters covered in a milky syrup – very different to the fritters covered in crunchy cinnamon sugar that I grew up with. Needless to say, they were absolutely scrumptious. Although South Africans love sweet side dishes, my generation doesn’t really cook like this anymore – it’s truly old-school and over the top. However, my bet is that it might be the most popular side dish on your table."
- For the milk syrup:
- 1½ cups milk
- 300 g sugar
- 1 T butter
- 4 t cornflour
- 2 T water
- salt, to taste
- For the butternut fritters:
- 2 cups cooked and puréed butternut (slightly warm or at room temperature)
- 210 g cake flour
- 2 t baking powder
- 1 t ground cinnamon
- ½ t salt
- 2 extra-large free-range eggs
- canola oil, for frying
1. To make the milk syrup, place the milk, sugar and butter in a saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring often, until the sugar has dissolved completely.
2. Dissolve the cornflour in the water, then add to the syrup and season with salt.
3. Stir well and cook for 1 minute until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside while you make the fritters.
4. To make the fritters, place the butternut, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and eggs in a food processor and process to make a smooth batter (you can also use an electric beater).
5. Heat 4–5 cm oil in a saucepan over a medium-high heat, then drop spoonfuls of batter into the oil (technically, you are looking for about 180°C; alternatively test a small bit of batter to see if it sizzles), working in batches.
6. Turn the fritters when golden and cook a little more, then drain on kitchen paper and transfer to a wide serving plate. Pour over the hot milk syrup and serve warm.
Cook’s note: The fritters shouldn’t remain crisp, they should be soft and drenched in syrup – that’s the idea!
Extracted with permission from Simply Seasonal: recipes inspired by nature, by Ilse van der Merwe, photography by Tasha Seccombe, Published by Penguin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House South Africa (Pty) Ltd.