Yes, this requires some forward planning – the ricotta balls need to hang in the fridge for three days – but the total prep and cooking time is short and, like the end result, deliciously sweet. Serves four.
120g crème fraîche
Seeds scraped from ½ vanilla pod
80g egg whites (ie, from 2 large eggs)
100g caster sugar
For the tempura batter:
65g plain white flour
15g desiccated coconut
200ml cold soda water
Sunflower oil, for frying
2 medium bananas, sliced on a diagonal into 8cm long x 2cm batons
1 tbsp lime juice
4 tsp maple syrup
50g macadamia nuts, toasted and roughly crushed
- Three days ahead, put the ricotta, crème fraîche and vanilla in a bowl, and beat until smooth. Add a pinch of salt and set aside. Whisk the egg whites and sugar until stiff, then gently fold into the creams. Tip out the mixture into the centre of a clean muslin or J-cloth, wrap into a ball and secure tightly with string. Slot a chopstick through the loop of string and lay the chopstick horizontally over a container that's deep enough to let the ball hang free – this will catch the liquid that will drip out – and refrigerate.
- Two days later, divide the mixture into four balls of about 50g each, and place each one in a separate clean muslin or J-cloth. Twist these tightly, tie with string and hang, as before, with the aid of a chopstick. Refrigerate for another 12 to 24 hours. Before serving, gently twist each ball again, to extrude any last vestiges of liquid, wipe dry and remove the balls from their cloths.
- Now you are ready to make the batter. Put the flours and coconut in a large bowl. Whisk in the soda water, stirring constantly, until the mix is smooth and runny, then sit the bowl over ice in the fridge and leave for 45 minutes.
- Pour enough oil into a medium saucepan so that it comes 5cm up the sides, and place over a medium-high heat. To test that the oil is the right temperature, put in a few drops of batter: if they sink to the bottom, then bounce straight back up with large bubbles, it's ready. Dip a couple of banana batons in the batter and lower into the oil. Fry for two to three minutes, until crisp, remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a kitchen paper-lined plate. Repeat with the remaining bananas and batter. Serve the fritters with the ricotta balls, a squeeze of lime, a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkling of nuts.