I’ve been thinking about what to make for my Mother’s Day post for the last two weeks! It has to be yummy and special and of course something that my mom would like. It was going to be something with okra and had the recipe all made up. But then I was researching an easy dessert for my cooking club’s Spanish night and came across this recipe for breadcrumb fritters in honey syrup reflecting monastery cooking. There were no pictures but I was instantly transported. I could see monks in long robes gathering up the rosemary for the honey syrup. And saving leftover bread to use in the fritters, ensuring no food went to waste. What was harder to imagine was monks having a decidedly delicious and un-austere meal, much less dessert. Go monks! I love a recipe with a story, don’t you?!
I made the Spanish breadcrumb fritters with rosemary infused honey syrup on Monday. It came out well. But on Tuesday morning, I had a light bulb moment. This recipe could be ‘Indianized’. I changed all my plans and got to work creating my take on an Indian version of the Spanish dessert. Here is what I ended up with.
It was divine. I think my mom will approve
Happy Mother’s Day!
For the hearts/fritters
- 3 eggs
- 3-4 slices of white bread (I used a gluten, dairy and soy free bread from Udi’s)
- 3-4 tablespoons finely ground almond meal (I use Bob’s Red Mill almond meal)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil for shallow frying
For the syrup
- 1/2 cup of honey
- 2 inch stalk of vanilla bean (you can substitute 1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla bean or 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla essence)
- 7-8 cardamom pods, slightly crushed to open up the pods
- 2 tablespoons water
- Cinnamon (I used freshly ground ceylon cinnamon)
- Mint leaves
Beat the eggs in a bowl. Make bread crumbs from 3 slices of bread. I simply tore off small pieces (very therapeutic if you’ve had a long day). You can also use a sharp chef’s knife and dice the bread. Add it to the eggs along with 3 tablespoons of almond meal. You should have a fairly thick batter. If it runs too easily, add more almond meal and or bread.
Heat the coconut oil in a skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Once the oil starts shimmering, pour half the batter and spread to make a 1/4 thick ‘pancake’. Once the pancake is golden brown on the bottom, flip and cook till the top is also golden brown. Put aside on paper towels so that the excess oil gets absorbed and the fritters crisps up. Repeat with the rest of the batter. Cut into hearts using cookie cutters or simply into squares or diamonds.
Next, prepare the honey. The easiest way to infuse honey is to open up a jar of honey, insert the vanilla bean and cardamom pods, close the lid and let sit for 2 weeks. If you can’t wait 2 weeks, the next best thing to do is to heat the honey, spices and water over low heat in a thick bottomed pot for about 10-15 minutes so the flavors come together. Don’t allow the honey to bubble up. It is important to not heat the honey on high heat as it will change the flavor or worse, caramelize the honey. For even better control over the heat, use a double boiler or make your own: place the honey in a small pot and place that pot in a bigger pot with an inch of water.
Place the pancake fritters in the honey syrup making sure they all get coated. Arrange them on a plate or a bowl and pour any remaining syrup over them. Dust with freshly ground cinnamon and garnish with mint. Give mom a hug.