I know this must come as a great shock to you, but pear fritters are not the answer to your diet dilemma. They are made with whole milk, deep fried and then rolled in sugar. Does that not scream diet food? In all seriousness though, these fritters are some heavenly cross between funnel cake from the fair (c’mon you know you love it), and a deliciously airy homemade doughnut. These particular fried delights are elevated a touch as they are full of gingered pears and have a touch of lemon zest.
Although these pear fritters are deep fried in the oh-so-health-conscious Canola oil, they are still not what you would call a diet food. I detest dieting. I know, you love it. I hear you. The only reason that I am even mentioning the terrible four letter word, never to be uttered aloud is because I voluntarily entered a crazy neighborhood “Biggest Losers Challenge”.
I know, I’m a masochist…I do realize it’s almost Thanksgiving and Christmas baking is around the corner. Surprisingly though, it’s actually a riot. I have never had more fun shedding a few pounds in my entire life.
This is how it goes down every week: A couple of days before the big weigh-in my email is literally flooded with perhaps 50 comments about the upcoming BIG DAY. The first of the bunch is usually a directive to “BYOB” to the social hour that follows the weigh-in. Then there are many questions and concerns that get shot around such as, “What happened to the Saturday Brunch weigh-in?”, or offers like, “I can make my Blueberry French Toast, if we do Brunch?”
My favorite is one guy’s email… “My opinions are subject to change pending whatever my wife says she wants to do.” Can you even imagine the zingers that were thrown his way from the other guys in the group?!
Another stellar comment this week came after the debate over when to end the challenge; the morning of Thanksgiving (YIKES!) or the Saturday before. His comment went something like this…”I vote for weigh-in on Saturday. After that all bets are off. I’m eating and drinking all day on Thanksgiving.”
Can you see why this weightloss was almost—dare I say—FUN, this time around?! Apparently, I am in this group of boozers, food lovers and comedians who have actually ALL LOST WEIGHT!!! You’re ready to jump in, aren’t you?
My only complaint is to those very annoying pounds that are dropping from me ever so slowly. I have been spending the thoughtful parts of my weekend trying to piece together the mystery as to why I am not the big winner for this week, nor the big winner over the last three weeks. If you just click through a handful of the recipes on this site, I think you will connect the dots. Believe it or not, baking two or three times a week is NOT THE ANSWER to losing weight. I know, this is earth shattering information.
So, lying in bed last night, while I contemplated what I would be making this morning for this post, I tossed around healthier, lighter fare. I had a beautiful bowl full of gorgeous pears begging to be used, and I knew that somehow pears would be in the picture. Poached pears would be nice, I thought, with a rich balsamic honey sauce, right? So light, so diet friendly, and maybe those pounds would drop off me just a little bit faster or at least not as slowly as molasses drops off a spoon.
But then I awoke, and my mind was clear and Pear Fritters were the obvious—albeit diet disastrous— answer to my “What to Post?” question. They are really so delicious…they are worth it I promise you.
I only ate two little fritters if that is any consolation. As I nibbled the last one, I contemplated packing up little “care packages” of fritters for my fellow dieters and anonymously dropping them on their doorsteps. Some read my blog though…I think I would have been walked off a plank somewhere or at least my front yard would have been “teepeed”. Ah well, diets have been sunk by far lesser and banal things than pear fritters. At least I went down in a fried and sugared dough ball of glory.
Pear Fritters with Lemon and Ginger
Changed up a bit from Fine Living Magazine, December 2010 Issue
2 small firm-ripe pears (preferably Bartlett), peeled, cored and finely diced
1 T. finely grated fresh ginger
1/2 t. finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 c. plus 1 T granulated sugar (I used baking sugar)
2 t. plus 1/8 t. ground cinnamon
3 large egg whites (at room temperature)
1 c. whole milk
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 to 2 1/2 c. canola oil
In a small bowl, combine the pears, ginger, lemon zest, 1 T. of the sugar, and 1/8 t. cinnamon. Stir together and let sit (macerate) at room temperature for 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks (see photo above). In another medium bowl, whisk the milk, 1/2 c. of the sugar, and the vanilla until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is slightly frothy. Whisk in the flour just until combined—it shouldn’t be completely smooth. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the egg whites, and then fold in the pear mixture. In a small bowl, mix the remaining 1 c. sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon.
The directions tell you to pour 1/2 an inch of oil in a cast-iron skillet, but I actually used a medium pot and it worked just fine. Use what you have. Clip a candy thermometer to the side. This is important. Your oil needs to get to 250 degrees Farenheit. Heat the oil over medium to medium-high heat. Layer paper towels on a cookie sheet near where you will be frying your dough.
Once the oil is at 250, you can lower it to medium so the temperature remains steady and does not climb. Use a medium icecream scoop, which holds about 2 T. of the dough, to drop 3 scoopfuls of dough into the oil (ever so gently please!). Cook them on one side for two minutes. Do not crow the pot by putting in more fritters. They won’t fry as nicely and they will want to converge and meld together into one giant dough-ish ball. Not pretty. Flip each fritter over with a slotted spoon and cook another two minutes. Take the fritters out with the slotted spoon and set them on the paper towels. Scoop the next dough balls and repeat. While those are frying, gently roll your fritters in the cinnamon sugar. Serve these guys warm…it’s the only way to go. The aroma coming from your kitchen will literally make you feel happy all day. Seriously, between the smell and taste of these fritters, your day will be stellar. Enjoy!