Most South Africans know “pampoen koekies” (pumpkin fritters). It is part of our heritage, like milktart, koeksisters, braaivleis and biltong.
When I got married, years ago, I wanted traditional South African food on the menu, so amongst Chicken pie, roasted leg of lamb and green beans, pumpkin fritters were served. Everyone loved the food! Some things will always be in fashion and today, 30 years later, people still enjoy eating these classics.
Sometimes old classics needs to be twisted a bit… although my son always says, if something works, why do you want to change it? Good question; but the saying does not for nothing says: “A change is as good as a holiday.”
I love old fashioned traditional fare, but sometimes it is necessary to change it a bit to give it a new look and taste.
My sister told me a couple of weeks ago that they attended a teaspoon lunch at church. A teaspoon lunch consists of loads of different dishes and everyone dishes up a teaspoon of each dish. She told me that the best dish was pampoen poffertjies aka pumpkin puffs. According to my sister’s explanation these poffertjies were like pumpkin fritters but light and airy.
I started making different versions of pumpkin fritters into pumpkin puffs. Although those that my sister tasted were served with cinnamon sugar, I tried a variety of sauces with these puffs.
In the end I decided to make these pumpkin puffs served with an orange caramel sauce. I have discovered that pumpkin and orange is a match made in heaven.
The Pumpkin Puffs:
250g pumpkin cubes
250ml cake flour, sifted
1 cinnamon stick
1 quarter piece of an orange’s skin
80 ml cake flour, sifted
10ml baking powder
oil for deep frying
Pre-heat the oven to 180⁰C.
Place the cubed pumpkin into a baking dish, drizzle with some olive oil and season with some salt.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cool down.
Once cooled, mash the pumpkin and mix with the 250ml cake flour.
Place the water, butter, brandy, sugar, cinnamon stick and orange peel into a saucepan and heat over low heat, stirring until all the sugar was dissolved.
Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.
Remove the cinnamon stick and orange peel and add the 80ml cake flour. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough ball. Cool down.
Add the eggs and mix thoroughly.
Add the pumpkin-flour mixture with the baking powder to the egg mixture and mix.
Heat oil in a pot and add teaspoons of the pumpkin mixture to the pre-heated oil.
Fry the pumpkin until puffed up, brown and cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to drain excess oil.
Serve, drizzled with the orange caramel sauce.
Orange caramel sauce:
60g cold butter, cubed
Rind of ¾ of an orange
Dissolve the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan.
Remove from the heat and add the butter cubes slowly whilst whisking the mixture.
Place the saucepan back onto the heat and add the cream and orange rind whilst whisking continuously.
Cook the sauce for a minute or two.
Remove from the heat and drizzle over the pumpkin puffs.