Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grandma's Plantation Puffs

Normally at the beginning of my blog I give credit to whatever website I pulled the weeks recipe from. This week we are very fortunate to be using my Grandmother's own recipe for Plantation Puffs, which I will be providing all of you to enjoy.

I have something insanely special to share with all of you today. This recipe is actually my grandmother's recipe for Plantation Puffs. These little frittery doughnutty gems are fantastic for anyone of any age. They are fast, they are economical, and best of all they taste far more complicated than what they actually are. This can be used for an appetizer at a party, as a desert, or as a special breakfast item on the weekends (which is what my family used them for mostly). Regardless of the time of day or event these will be a show stopper for all who try them.

For this recipe you will need:

For the Puffs
2 cups AP flour
1 tbsp. sugar
2 rounded tsp. baking powder
1tsp. salt
1 tbsp. melted butter
1 large egg

For the Coating
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Before we get in to the nuts and bolts of this recipe I'd like to address frying. I do not have a lot of experience in frying, as you will find out later on. It produces fantastic results when done right, and it actually quite quick compared to other forms of cooking. Frying is also inherently dangerous due to the fact you are essentially cooking in napalm, and will feel like it if you get splashed. I urge everyone to please be careful when frying anything.

Basically you can fry two ways. If you are fortunate enough to have an actual "Fryer" it is much easier and less messy. The Fryer will actually maintain your heat for you, and you usually can just cap off the fryer when done and leave the oil in. Personally I do not own a Fryer so I use my cast iron dutch oven to do the job, which is quite common. The cast iron will help maintain heat for you, and is durable enough to withstand long exposure to high temperature without damaging the pot. Using your dutch oven will require a fry or candy thermometer, and a metal spoon or a "spider" to fish out your product (pictured below). There are also many oil options you can use. The recipe called for shortening (Crisco), which I did not use (I didn't have enough). I usually use Peanut Oil when I fry, mostly because of the flavor it provides.

Similar to baking the first step to frying is starting to heat up your oil. For this recipe I found it's best to keep your oil in the 360-380 range. Make sure you monitor your oil temp regularly to ensure you don't under cook, or over cook your puffs.

While your oil is heating up go ahead and get out a mixing bowl and put your sifter in the center of it. Put the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in your sifter and sift until it's all in the bowl (yes... I know normally sugar is technically a "wet" item but for this recipe it's not necessary). At this time put your egg in, and about a half cup of milk to start.

*This is where my grandmother starts to make this a lookin' thing. You have to realize she didn't measure many things while cooking, a lot of it was purely by eye. You have to add your milk a little bit at a time until you get the right consistency. The right consistency should be a sticky dough that appears kind of furry, almost like a tuna salad. After you have the right consistency, add your butter and stir it in.

Another item to complete before frying is getting your coating ready. This is extremely  simple, just put your 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tbsp. of ground cinnamon in to a bowl, and mix well.

Now as long as your oil is at the right temp, we are ready to fry. I set up an assembly line to make things a little more organized for my self (pictured below). First the bowl of batter, next the oil, next the cinnamon mix, and finally a plate (with a paper towel on it) to put the final product.

Using two kitchen table spoons dish out a ball about 1 maybe 2 inches (max) across in to the oil. Fry for about 4 minutes, until you have the right color and ensure it's cooked thoroughly. Trust me on the 4 minute minimum, I actually screwed up the entire first batch I made by not frying long enough. They were raw in the middle. Also the smaller the puff, the less fry time it requires. Trust ya boy on this. This weeks video shows an example of this assembly line, and I will admit I did not fry the puff in this long enough.

After the puff is fried put it in the cinnamon bowl and roll it around. If you need to, spoon the coating over the puff to ensure full coverage and put on the finishing plate.

I will warn all of you, these suckers are addictive. The end product is a cross between a fritter and a doughnut, and you can't eat just one! I have to admit this was actually a very satisfying recipe to cook. I have many memories of my grandmother cooking, and in many ways she is one of the biggest inspirations I have had in the kitchen. This is a recipe that will always be in right in the front of my folder, and I hope you all enjoy these as much as I have. Eat well everyone!

*Note: I wanted to present my grandmother's Plantation Puffs per recipe, and they are fantastic without any fiddling around. I will admit in the future I'll be trying a batch with cinnamon in the batter (maybe some nutmeg too), just to see how it would taste. Just an idea ;)

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