Strained ricotta with banana fritters and maple syrupPrint Recipe
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
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.
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.