My whirlwind scheduled has continued, after being in Dublin judging for the 2022 World Steak Challenge I then fitted in a few online vegetarian cookery classes before flying out to Turkey for a few days break. Since I brought the laptop with me I figured I might as well finish off this planned recipe.
Autumn is a great time to include pears on your menu. The idea behind this dish was to show students in my current vegetarian class how to master tempura batter and why it is different to western style batters; making it light, not greasy and crisp when well executed. Once mastered, tempura batter can be used to make many types of wonderful dishes. It’s important to cook tempura battered food in small batches so you can serve it whilst it is still hot and crispy.
The fennel seeds need to be crushed fine in a mortar and pestle to flavour the sugar that the pears are dusted in. The orange scented crème fraîche adds a wonderful counterpoint.
Ingredients Serves 4
2 tsp fennel seeds
100g caster sugar
4 large, ripe but firm pears
Orange scented Crème Fraîche
150 grams Crème Fraîche
25 grams caster sugar
200 ml water
For the batter
120g plain flour
2 tsp caster sugar
50 grams just melted unsalted butter
150ml whole milk
2 medium free-range egg whites
- Sift the flour and sugar into a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Now add the melted butter and milk. Gradually whisk the liquid into dry ingredients until smooth, then allow to rest for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, grind the fennel seeds in a pestle and mortar until quite fine then stir in the sugar, then spread out the fennel sugar on a baking tray and reserve.
- Use a sharp peeler and peel the orange. Slice the peel into a very thin strips (julienne).
- Put the julienne of orange peel into a small saucepan with 200 ml water and 25 grams caster sugar. Cook the julienne until it is tender and almost all the liquid has evaporated.
- Allow to cool and then cut up 2/3 of the julienne into smaller pieces and stir into the crème fraîche, reserve the other third to decorate the pears.
- Squeeze the juice of ¼ of the orange into crème fraîche stir in and chill.
- Heat the deep-frying oil to 180°C and line a baking tray with kitchen roll to drain the pears once cooked.
- Peel the pears and then slice each pear into 6 wedges lengthwise.
- Use a sharp knife to cut away the core from the pear wedges, cutting the least amount you can and place pear wedges on a plate.
- Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then fold into the batter gently with a silicone spatula.
- Dip the pear wedges, 3 or 4 at a time, into the batter. Lift each out in turn and lower into the hot oil. Wait a couple of seconds before adding the next wedge of pear to prevent them from sticking together. Cook the pear wedges for 3- 4 minutes turning them over with a pair of tongs when they are half cooked.
- When they are golden brown and floating on the top of the oil take them out of the fryer and drain on the kitchen roll.
- Transfer them quickly into the fennel sugar and coat well.
- Serve on a warm dessert bowl with a good dollop of orange scented crème fraîche and a tiny sprinkle of the reserved candied orange julienne.
The pears for this dish must be ripe but still firm, with a good balance of acidity and sweetness – taste them before cooking. Serve the fritters straightaway while hot and crispy.
Tempura Pears with Fennel Sugar and Orange scented Crème Fraîche ©Kevin Ashton 2022
Have you seen my latest soup recipe? Garlic Roasted Parsnip Soup with Crispy Chickpeas