The Professor has been out of town for a couple of extraordinarily long weeks and I’ve been baking to pass the time and eat my feelings. My preferred method of coping with the stress of being left to care for my under-exercised precious angels in weather that forbids anyone from stepping outside is warm pumpkin-scented goodies.
Since his departure I’ve made these pseudo-healthy Whole Grain Pumpkin Banana Muffins, these not-so-healthy but ultra-heavenly Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Muffins, and I was going to make these Spiced Pumpkin Doughnuts but got lazy and turned them into the most ethereal pumpkin fritters I’ve ever put in my mouth. They were so good my instinctual reaction was to close my eyes so I could better comprehend their heady nature without being distracted by my pesky vision. I didn’t realize I was doing this until I wanted a second fritter and had to open my eyes to find it.
All of Ian Falconer’s Olivia stories are irresistible, but this first book where we get to meet her in all her glory is near and dear to my heart. Falconer captures her preschool spirit so perfectly, right down to the, at times, infuriatingly confusing behavior. One of the best lines ever written in a picture book comes at the end when after an exhausting day her mother tucks her into bed and says ‘You know you really wear me out, but I love you anyway’. And Olivia replies, ‘I love you anyway too’.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Vegetable shortening, while not the best for you, is excellent frying material. I'm no food scientist, but something to do with being solid at room temperature makes the food it is fried in less greasy and more crispy. You could absolutely use all vegetable shortening or all vegetable oil. I like to use half and half for the best flavor and texture results.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 cups vegetable shortening
- 2 cups vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg (freshly grated if possible)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium for 30 seconds.
- Add the sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Beat until combined.
- Add pumpkin, milk, vinegar, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour until well combined.
- Cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Combine the shortening and oil in a deep saucepan over medium heat and attach a deep-frying thermometer. Heat oil to 350-375°F.
- While oil is heating, combine all the ingredients for the spiced sugar.
- Scoop a heaping tablespoon full of dough and carefully slide it into the hot oil using another spoon to help push it in.
- Fry about 4-5 fritters at a time, making sure not to crowd the pan. Cook the fritters for about 1-2 minutes per side or until deep golden brown.
- Remove fritters with a bamboo skimmer or tongs to paper towel-lined plates. Let cool for about 30 seconds, then roll in the spiced sugar mixture.
- Repeat with the remaining dough, keeping a close eye on the oil temperature. You want to make sure the oil is between the 350-375°F range before adding more dough.
- These are best warm, but will keep covered for a day. You can reheat them in the oven before serving if desired.