Strawberry Fritters

May is the month for strawberries in Virginia. This French recipe works well with any fruit.

18th Century

Make a paste with some flour, a spoonfull of brandy, half a glass of white wine, the whites of two eggs beat and green lemon shred fine. Mix it well, neither too thick nor too thin. It should rope in falling from a spoon. Dip some large strawberrys in to it, fry them and glaze them with a salamander.

– Menon. “French Family Cook”

21st Century

  • 1 lb. all-purpose flour
  • 5-8 oz. of white wine
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. brandy
  • zest of two lemons (approximately 2 tsp.)
  • 2 lb. strawberries
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 lb. of lard or peanut oil
  1. Make a batter with the first four ingredients. Add the lemon zest. The batter is right when it resembles a medium pancake batter and can make a rope or a figure eight in the bowl as it drips from a spoon.
  2. Dunk the strawberries in the batter and then set them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. When the pan is full, put it in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  3. Melt the lard in a frying pan. When the lard has reached 360 degrees on a thermometer, fry the strawberries in the hot fat.
  4. Fry them a nice brown, then dust them with sugar.
  5. Put the sugared strawberries under a broiler for a minute or two to melt the sugar.

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13 Responses to “Strawberry Fritters”

  1. June 15th, 2012

    Chris Hansley says:

    Hi Foodways Crew,
    If I use apples or pears, is it better to quarter/wedge them or thick slice them? Peeled or not? What other fruits are good to use vs. those that just will not hold up to frying?

    I hope your summer season is going well. Anything new going on at the armoury kitchen? I see on the webcam people are coming to see you. Have you baked any bread in the outdoor oven yet?

    Have a great sommer,
    Chris

    • June 23rd, 2012

      Historic Foodways says:

      Chris:
      If apples or pears are used it would be better to slice them them about 1/4 inch thick and pared. Seedless orange wedges are also good with this recipe. Part of the trick is to make sure that the strawberries are rather medium or on the firmer side. The berries should be patted dry after washing so the batter will cling to them better. Also, keep turning the berries as they are frying so that one side doesn’t get too brown. We have used the oven and it works fairly well and have baked breads, sugar cakes, meat pies and pound cakes in it. Thanks for asking.

      Dennis Cotner

      • June 24th, 2012

        Chris Hansley says:

        Hi Dennis,

        Thanks for the response. I didn’t think about using oranges. I’ll give it a try.

        Several years ago I took a cooking class on herbs at the Chicago Botanic Garden. They fried whole basil leaves. Sounded strange, but boy were they good. Great on a salad.

        Have a great summer,
        Chris

  2. June 16th, 2012

    Helen Robison FitzGerald says:

    Hello all,
    I’ve certainly heard of Menon as a famous French chef. I’d some historical background, if it is available. Why would anyone do such a thing to fruit? Would it be because it had gone past the point of being lovely? Certainly “just” overripe fruit is delicious. But the recipe is clearly using whole rather than a “croquette” type friter. Is this a sweet-savory mixup, not meant to be a “dessert” if they had such a notion when this recipe was created.

    Thanks, as always,
    Helen

    • June 23rd, 2012

      Historic Foodways says:

      Helen:
      Even though Menon (first name not known) wrote cookbooks he was not “into” writing them. When he did it was for the upper class housewife in order to help her manage her home economically. Not much is known about Menon, but his works certainly became “hits” and even went into English translations. As for the strawberries they are very good fried (apple fritters have been an American standard for quite some time) and can be used either to compliment savory or salty tasting meats in the main course or as a dessert item. Tempura is a more recent comparison and even though it is used on seafood and vegetables it works well with fruits of various sorts. Hope you like it.

      Dennis Cotner

  3. August 31st, 2012

    Richard says:

    I noticed that several of your recipes call for brandy; what flavor would you recommend and what flavor brandy would be more historically accurate?

    • September 4th, 2012

      Historic Foodways says:

      We usually use a French brandy of no particular brand name. We feel it is as close to what was being used as you can work with today. Brandy always makes it good. Thanks.

  4. April 17th, 2013

    Gpurk says:

    Would it be better to cut the strawberries in half for more even frying?

    • July 18th, 2013

      Violet says:

      I can’t think of any meal that would incorporate shrimp into a dessert If you are allowed to prepare a main dish, I would suggest a Boulibase (a french fish stew). Then follow it with a simple dessert, using strawberries. Europeans often just have fruit for dessert.

  5. April 17th, 2013

    Dennis Cotner says:

    Although the recipe does not state to do so, you can slice them if you like. The idea in this recipe is to fry it quickly enough to make the batter adhere to the outside of the fruit, not to fry the strawberry. Literally frying the strwberry will make it mushy. In one of the other replies I gave a suggestion to use strawberries of a medium a/o firmer type. Thanks for the question.
    Dennis Cotner

  6. August 24th, 2013

    Thank you for this delicious sounding recipe.
    I want to know if we at Historic Strawberry Mansion in Phila may send this on postcards to our visitors during our Holiday Tours. Each Historic House ( there are 7 ) in Fairmount Park Phila PA decorate their historic houses and also have a recipe that they share with all their visitors during the holiday season. Please let me know if this is possible to do , you may also visit our website historicstrawberrymansion.org for more information
    Thank you so much
    Beth Kowalchick

  7. December 21st, 2013

    Lani Tucker says:

    Would “Green Lemon” be a Lime? Or an unripe lemon?

  8. January 23rd, 2014

    Kathryn says:

    My husband was not a fan of the lard but the result tasted very good!

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