Venezuelan Sweet Corn Fritters – these delicious corn bites are crunchy on the outside, and soft and cheesy on the inside.
It’s November!! Can you believe it? In a few days everything will begin to look and sound a lot like Christmas and fall will be ripped out from under our boots.
Actually, the other day, I found myself staring at Christmas decorations and my immediate reaction was: Really??? It’s still a few weeks until Thanksgiving! Now the stores are full of Christmas starting in October. They seem to start earlier every year!
Other sign that the holidays are fast approaching is the time change. Tonight the clock will fall back an hour. Every time this happens I feel like I lose half of my work day because It starts getting dark outside so early that all I want is to put my pjs on and start watching Lost. BTW, we’re totally hooked by that TV show. We’re currently on season 3 and we have 70 more episodes to watch.
With all this things signaling the holidays are coming fast my memories of past Christmas plus the misbehavior of my sweet tooth played me a trick and I have been craving really bad these Sweet Corn Fritters for days. Despite all my efforts I couldn’t get them off of my mind so I had no choice but to prepare them.
I love to eat them as breakfast treats with a cup of café con leche.
These delicious Venezuelan fritters are extremely quick and easy to make. They’re made with corn flour and grated white cheese. The sweet touch of this recipe could be added in two different ways: the traditional, preparing a papelon and spices syrup, and fast way in which you only add granulated sugar to the dough.
I have done both, and of course, the traditional way helps the fritters to have a more delicious and deep flavor. They taste a little bit like hush puppies, and are often served with some more white cheese. I say “some more cheese” because they already have cheese in the dough.
To make them I used Maseca corn masa flour. I have noticed, for some emails that I have received from some readers, that cooking with this flour could look a little intimidating. But believe me…it’s not! As mentioned before, masa harina can be used to make a whole range of Latino dishes. Its most famous use is to make tortillas, but it’s so versatile that it can even be used to make a spiced porridge.
You can find it at almost any grocery store – look in the international aisle. This corn flour is naturally gluten-free so it a great option if you are avoiding consuming gluten.
- For the syrup:
- 2 1/4 cup of water
- 1 1/4 cup of papelon grated *see notes bellow, cane sugar
- 2 allspice berries
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 teaspoon of anise seeds
- 2 cups of Maseca corn masa flour
- 2 cups of papelon syrup
- 1 cup of Queso Blanco grated *see notes bellow, white hard cheese
- Corn oil for deep-frying you can also use any other oil with a neutral taste
Prepare the syrup: Add all the ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the papelon is dissolved. Remove from heat and cover for 15 - 20 minutes to steep spices and cool. Once cool remove spices from saucepan and discard.
Prepare the dough: Wash your hands. In a medium bowl stir corn flour and syrup together with your hands. Knead until mixture comes together and has no lumps. Add cheese and continue kneading until fully incorporated. The dough should be firm enough holds its shape without cracking when molded, soft and kneadable (like playdough), but not sticky. If it is too soft add a little more of corn flour; if too hard add a little more water. Let dough rest for 5 minutes. Divide the dough into 20 equal-size balls. Set aside.
Assemble fritters: Take a ball and place it over a counter top. Roll, with the palms of your hands, into a cylinder until dough is 5-6 inches long. Bring ends together and overlap them to form a tear- loop. Press ends together. Repeat until you finish with all the dough.
To fry: Add oil to medium heavy pot. Heat it over medium heat until reach 375º F. Carefully add the shaped dough to the oil, 4 – 5 at a time, and fry until golden about 2 minutes, turning once. Drain on paper towels.
Serve immediately with cheese if desired.
I used Queso Aserrin. This is most seemed in texture to Venezuelan white cheese that I’ve found in the area where I live. It’s sold in Latino stores and it comes already grated in a bag. If you don’t find this brand you use can use any other white cheese with a hard/firm texture, like cacique queso blanco.
Don’t over cook the syrup or it will thicken too much. For this recipe we need very watery consistency syrup.
Papelon is also known as piloncillo, panela, or rapadura, it’s unprocessed cane sugar sold in hard, flat discs or cones in most groceries stores. Look in the international aisle.