By Stacy Harris
Pumpkin fritters have become a new favorite recipe in my home. I serve them for breakfast, lunch, or dinner depending upon number of pumpkins sitting on my kitchen countertop.
I’ve long known that pumpkin works beautifully in both savory and sweet dishes. Recently, as I was considering the many meal possibilities for my abundant pumpkin harvest, my mom’s potato pancakes came to mind. When I was a kid, I loved it when we had potatoes left over from dinner, as I knew my mom would use them for breakfast the following morning. I had an epiphany: Why not prepare pumpkin fritters and serve them as a bedding for duck or pork, or alongside eggs, as pancakes topped with grated Parmesan or a dollop of sour cream?
As I suspected, the pumpkin fritters pair incredibly well with meats like duck and pork because the sweet flavor balances the generous amount of fat found in those meats. Really, the creamy insides (thanks to the ricotta-pumpkin mixture) and the slightly crispy outside offer the perfect mixture of textures to complement just about any meat.
I suggest cooking and puréeing the pumpkins a few hours before preparing the rest of the recipe, then chilling the purée in the refrigerator. This will help the cakes to keep their shape as they cook. I usually roast 4 or 5 pumpkins at the time, purée the meat of the pumpkins, and store it in the refrigerator for all kind of recipes that I will be making during the week.
You can add just about any spice or herb to these cakes, but my all-time favorite is sage. Frying sage in the oil before preparing the cakes will add just the right amount of flavor—and possibly result in a pumpkin fritter addiction! My mouth is actually watering as I write this. I think I’d better go make a few for my mid-day snack….
Serves 6 to 8
2 sugar or Seminole pumpkins, halved and seeded (yielding 3 cups purée)
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cups ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
olive oil, for frying
unsalted butter, for frying
3 sage leaves
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a sheet pan, place the pumpkin flesh side down and roast in the oven for about 45 minutes.
- Remove flesh and purée with a mixer, food processor, or potato masher. Place in fridge to cool thoroughly.
- In a large bowl, add pumpkin purée, flour, ricotta cheese, eggs, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- Place a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat with about 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a pat of butter. When butter has melted, add sage leaves and get them crispy, then remove.
- Add mixture to the pan in heaping tablespoons. Don’t crowd the pan—you want them to fry, not steam, so you may have to cook these in batches. When they are golden on the bottom (about 2 to 3 minutes), flip them over and repeat.
Stacy Harris is pioneering the farm-to-fork eating movement that includes harvesting wild animals in addition to domesticated animals and homegrown fruits and vegetables. She’s the author of several books about sustainable living for healthy families. For more recipes like this, check out her website at GameandGarden.com and her Facebook page.