fried sweet polenta with applesauce
polenta dolce in salsa di mele
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour, 30 minutes
MAKES: 4 servings (30 pieces)
- 6 whole coffee beans
- 1 (3-inch length) cinnamon stick
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter plus more for greasing pan
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- Fine sea salt
- 1 cup coarse polenta
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 large Gala apple, peeled, cored and cut into ¼-inch dice
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour for dusting
- About 1 quart vegetable oil for frying
- Confectioners sugar, for dusting
- SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: a 4-inch square of cheesecloth, kitchen twine, a (8-inch) square baking pan, candy/fry thermometer
Wrap coffee beans and cinnamon stick in a 4-inch square of cheesecloth, tying the bundle closed with kitchen twine. Grease
a (8-inch) square baking pan with butter.
In a large saucepan, combine spice bundle, 1 1/4 cups water, milk, butter, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; bring to a boil. Remove and discard bundle, then slowly add polenta in a thin stream, whisking; reduce heat to low and cook, whisking constantly, for 2 minutes. Continue to cook on low, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until thickened and tender, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat; mix in egg yolks and 2 tablespoons sugar.
Transfer polenta to prepared pan and spread evenly with a rubber spatula. Let polenta cool completely in pan on a wire rack.
In a medium skillet, combine apple, wine, 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water; bring to a simmer and cook, stirring frequently, until apples are soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer apple mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Add lemon zest and remaining tablespoon water; purée until smooth.
When polenta is cool, turn out onto a cutting board. Cut into 1/2- x 2-inch strips.
Line a large plate with paper towels. Spread flour on a second plate. Roll strips in flour to lightly coat.
In a large wide pot, heat 3 inches oil over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 375º. Working with about 8 pieces at a time, fry strips until golden, 45 seconds to 1 minute per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fried strips to paper towels to drain, then dust with confectioners sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature, with applesauce.
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