Thursday, December 11, 2008

Frituritas de Calabaza (Pumpkin Fritters)

The name is self explanatory, a pumpkin based batter, dropped by the spoonful in hot oil and fried until golden brown very tasty.

In Cuban cooking we have a wide variety of fritters as you've probably seen from some of my other posts. I am not sure but I think the fritters are probably something inherited from African influence, because Pumpkin Fritters are very popular in South Africa and are prepared in a very similar manner or so I have read around.

I asked my grandmother for a recipe for pumpkin fritters she told me she never made them, that her husband rather eat the Calabaza steamed smothered in Mojo de Ajo (Garlic Lime Sauce). So I had to come up with my own way of doing it, and the ratio's that I think would work best to make a good fritter, so here goes.

Ingredients for batter:
-3 cups Calabaza (I used a Kabucha) mashed up to a paste
-2 eggs
-2 tablespoons regular white flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-3 tablespoons sugar (more or less to taste)
-1 tablespoon butter

(1)Heat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit, cut Calabaza in half, scoop out pulp and seeds, rub with oil and put in oven for about 1 hour or less uncovered until edges begin to brown, then take out and let cool. I only used 1 small Calabaza I cooked 2 small Calabazas so tomorrow I can eat the other Calabaza with Mojo de Ajo or mash it to use it for "Pumpkin Bread" or something similar. When I mashed 1 it yielded 3 cups.

(2)Scoop out flesh and mash with a fork or whatever you have on hand, it should be a dry thick paste, doesn't have to be perfect, dump in eggs, melted butter, flour, baking powder, sugar, cinnamon powder and stir together until well incorporated. The batter should be thick and cling to the spoon sort of... but not to dry either.

(3)Now cover and let rest about 1 hour.

(4)Heat oil on medium high heat, and fry by the teaspoonfuls or tablespoonful until golden brown on each side, they should puff slightly. I use a fork and a spoon to flip and take out.

(5)Let them cool a bit and drain on PLENTY of paper towels or paperbags, fritters are usually oily and need to drain well.


(1)The version I made can be eaten with food if you want to make it into dessert
then simply toss it when cooled a bit in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, or simply make a syrup infused with cinnamon by boiling equal water to sugar with a couple cinnamon sticks for 10 minutes on medium then drench them in syrup or drizzle generously over fritters. Maybe you can add more sugar to the batter if you please but it will also burn more easily the more sugar you add :)

The pumpkin is baked uncovered because if it steamed or boiled the batter might be to runny.
(3)Use a starchy winter squash , DO NOT USE REGULAR PUMPKIN, use a Carribean/ Jamaican Squash, Japanese/ Kabucha Squash, Cheese Pumpkin, Acorn Squash, Butternut Squash, or Hubbard Squash, you need to use starchy fleshed one's like those.