Simple and yet utterly irresistible, fried dough has to be one of the most inspired culinary innovations of all time. Whether it's a light-as-air donut wrapped in a glistening maple glaze, or a crisp beignet piled high with a mountain of powdered sugar, when done properly, these caloric treats can be divinely good.
But as exceptional as fried dough can be, it can just as easily go horribly wrong. Details like over mixing, low temperature and overworked oil can turn these tasty morsels into leaden grease filled pucks that reek of old oil. That's why I usually prefer to prepare fried pastries at home. These vanilla bean banana fritters are as simple as they are good, making them a great way to enter the wondrous world of fried doughs.
Crisp on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside, these banana fritters are like a cross between a freshly baked loaf of banana bread and a really good donut. With vanilla beans and mashed bananas in the dough, these fritters have an intensely sweet aroma. As if that weren't enough, there are big chunks of caramelized banana poking out from the dough to maximize the banana flavor.
Best of all, the nooks and crannies the bananas create are perfect for holding onto powdered sugar and the vanilla caramel sauce that you can drizzle on top or serve on the side as a dip. Served with coffee, or a tall glass of milk, these humble balls of fried banana goodness are off the charts.
When you make these, please be sure to use a very ripe(as in the skin is more black than yellow) banana to mash into the batter. Not only do overripe bananas have a stronger banana flavor, they're also sweeter and less viscous when mashed. The last point in particular is essential as the mashed banana accounts for most of the liquid in the batter and if it's not ripe enough your batter will end up more like a dough. For the chopped banana, use one that's perfectly ripe (all yellow, no black spots yet) because an overripe banana won't hold its shape when you stir it into the batter.
- Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a bowl and whisk together to combine.
- In a separate bowl mash the very ripe banana and whisk together with the egg, lemon juice and vanilla beans. An immersion blender will speed this process up.
- Peel and quarter the other banana lengthwise and then cut into cubes. Add the cubed banana in with the dry ingredients and then toss to coat each piece of banana with the flour mixture so they don't clump together.
- Heat 2-inches of oil in a heavy bottomed pot to 350 degrees F (180 C). Prepare a wire rack lined with a triple layer of paper towels.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold the mixture together until just combined. Do not overmix or your fritters will become tough and chewy.
- Use a spoon to gently drop spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil and fry on one side until you see the edges starting to turn brown.
- Flip and continue frying until brown on the other side. Drain on the prepared rack. Let the fritters cool a bit and then dust with plenty of powdered sugar. Serve warm with vanilla caramel sauce.