These are a surprisingly light alternative to yeasted doughnut holes. Be sure to beat the egg white until very stiff, at the edge of overbeaten, as that will give the batter its needed structure.
Chestnut flour can be expensive and a bit hard to track down. It can be ordered online through several gourmet purveyors, and it is available at Nourish Market in McLean (703-288-3031) and at La Cuisine in Alexandria (703-836-4435). The flour has an assertive aroma but yields a delicate flavor here.
You'll need a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature. In truth, our doughnut holes turned out more like domed disks than true orbs, but they tasted great.
Servings: 30 - 35 pieces
- About 5 cups safflower oil, for deep-frying, or as needed
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup chestnut flour (see headnote)
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon coconut milk
- 1/4 cup water
- Coarse sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Pour the oil into a 4-quart saucepan to a depth of 3 inches. Place over medium heat and bring the oil to 300 degrees, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain that temperature. Place a wire rack over a few layers of paper towels.
Separate the egg yolk and white. While the oil is heating, whisk together the flour, coconut milk, water and the egg yolk in a medium bowl to form a loose batter.
Whisk the egg white in a separate bowl, or use a hand-held electric mixer to beat it until stiff peaks form. Use a flexible spatula to gently fold the egg white into the batter
Constantly monitor the oil temperature to make sure that it stays at 300 degrees.
To fry, drop 1 teaspoon of batter at a time into the oil, preferably using a round, heat-resistant spoon, frying no more than 5 pieces at a time. Cook for 30 seconds, then turn them over and cook for 10 to 20 seconds, until evenly browned. They might look more like disks than orbs. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the wire rack. If desired, sprinkle with sugar.
Serve right away.
Adapted from "The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten & Lactose," by Barbara Kafka (Artisan Books, November 2011).
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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