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Fluffy peach fritters are a celebration of peak-season stone fruit

(Scott Suchman for The Washington Post/food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post)
Peach Fritters With Maple-Bourbon Sauce
Total time:30 mins
Servings:6 (makes 12 fritters)
Total time:30 mins
Servings:6 (makes 12 fritters)
correction

An earlier version of this recipe didn't ask for frozen peaches. It also misstated the metric volume conversion of the bourbon. This version has been updated.

In high school, I’d look forward to going to the neighborhood shopping mall on the weekends. Not for the newest sneaker, but for the cinnamon fritters served fresh out of the hot oil and tossed with cinnamon sugar.

I can still remember how fluffy and soft they were. They inspired me to experiment with creating my own and led me to this crisp, fried peach version.

A guide to stone fruit: How to choose, ripen, store and cook with it

I love making fritters at home because there’s room for improvisation. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a fritter as “a small mass of fried or sauteed batter often containing fruit or meat.”

That means you can go sweet or savory.

For this recipe, the batter contains a blend of cornmeal and all-purpose flour. Combining them helps to create a tender texture that makes it suitable for a variety of add-ins.

For a savory fritter, you can add fun mix-ins, such as cheese, corn kernels and/or other adjacent flavors. This can help you use up bits of leftovers, too.

Or you can dive into seasonal fruit, as I did with this recipe, which highlights the flavors of summer produce by using peaches as well as peach preserves to give the fritters a burst of bright, fruity flavors. Use ripe, fresh peaches in the summer. Frozen or canned peaches work well year-round.

I’ve always loved how this stone fruit pairs with cinnamon, brown sugar and bourbon, so I make a glaze, which I spoon over the fritters as a finishing touch. But you could also drizzle your favorite syrup or add a dollop of soft whipped cream.

What’s beautiful about the sweet version of these fritters is that once you get it down, you can make them year-round by substituting your favorite seasonal fruits, such as strawberries in the spring or apples in the fall.

Peach Fritters With Maple-Bourbon Sauce

Storage: The fritters are best eaten right away; store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 1 day.

NOTE: Fresh peaches are best here, but you can also use unsweetened (or very lightly sweetened) canned or sliced frozen peaches. To peel whole peaches, fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Score a long, shallow “X” into the bottom of each peach before lowering them into the boiling water. Let them boil for 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the peels start to loosen. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the peaches to the ice bath and let them cool for a few minutes. Drain, peel, pit and slice the peaches before continuing with the recipe.

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Ingredients

For the fritters

  • 1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (89 grams) finely ground cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten, at room temperature
  • 6 ounces frozen peaches, finely chopped (see headnote; if using fresh peaches, see NOTE)
  • 3/4 cup (180 milliliters) well-shaken buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons peach preserves
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying
  • Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for sprinkling

For the maple-bourbon sauce

  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (60 milliliters) bourbon
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) packed light brown sugar
  • One (3-inch) cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon ground
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step 1

Make the fritter batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt until combined. Add the egg, peaches, buttermilk, preserves and vegetable oil and stir together until thoroughly combined; set aside.


Step 2

Make the maple-bourbon sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the maple syrup, bourbon, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, transfer to a small heatproof bowl and set aside.


Step 3

Make the fritters: In a large Dutch oven or cast-iron skillet, add enough oil to come 1/2 inch up the sides, and heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 350 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. (If you don’t have an instant-read thermometer, test the oil by dropping a small bit of the batter in the oil; if it immediately starts to vigorously sizzle and bubble, the oil is ready.) While the oil heats, line a wire rack with paper towels.


Step 4

Working in batches, using either a 3-tablespoon measure or disher No. 24, gently slide the fritter batter into the oil. Fry until golden brown, turning the fritters over halfway through, about 6 minutes total. Adjust the heat as needed to ensure that the oil temperature does not exceed 375 degrees.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the fritters to the prepared rack.


Step 5

Transfer the fritters to a platter or individual plates. Spoon the sauce over the fritters, top with a sprinkle of the flaky salt and serve warm.


Nutrition Information

Due to variables in frying, an accurate analysis is unavailable.


From food writer Will Coleman.

Tested by Suzy Leonard; email questions to voraciously@washpost.com.

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