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Winter squash mini fritters
Stephanie Lubrecht, Treasure State Donuts
At Treasure State Donuts, we love to work with the fantastic fresh ingredients available to us locally through the Western Montana Grower’s Co-Op. We had been tinkering with local roasted pumpkin donuts when Stefan at the Co-Op suggested we try some local butternut squash too. We thought we’d be crazy not to try it! What came out of our squash experiments were these butternut squash fritters, which we dip in a local Wustner Brothers Honey glaze for the perfect balance of sweet and savory.
For the filling:
2 cups or 20 ounces peeled and roasted winter squash,
roasted pumpkin or leftover yams and sweet potatoes
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon
For the dough:
1.5 cups whole milk
2.5 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting your work surface)
2.5 cups bread flour
1/3 cup butter at room temperature or vegetable shortening
2 large eggs
¼ cup granulated sugar
1.5 teaspoons sea salt
4.5 teaspoons instant yeast
1/3 cup warm water (95-105 degrees)
In the bowl of your stand mixer, place both flours, shortening or butter, eggs, sugar and salt. In a separate, small bowl, mix the yeast with the warm water and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
Add the yeast to the stand mixer bowl with remaining ingredients and mix on low speed with a dough hook until dough becomes moist. Raise the mixer speed to medium-high and mix until dough comes together and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
As soon as the dough mixes into a workable ball, stop the mixer and turn the ball onto an oiled bowl or sheet pan. Cover dough loosely with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel. Allow dough to rise in a warm, draft-free area for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
As dough rises, prep your filling. Cut your peeled, roasted squash or yams into ½-inch cubes and toss them in the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spices to coat evenly, and set aside.
Once your dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a well-floured surface and gently roll it to ½-inch thickness. Pour all of your filling onto one half of the rolled-out dough and sprinkle about 4 tablespoons of flour over the top of it. Fold your dough over the top of the filling to encase it in the dough. Next, take your knife and cut the dough into 1-inch strips vertically and horizontally to create a checkerboard of dough and filling chunks. (Note: This will be messy!) Fold the dough and filling together again, and continue cutting, folding and adding flour as necessary until the chunks begin to form a cohesive, sticky mixture.
Create your fritters by pulling or cutting golf-ball sized pieces of dough-squash mixture, patting them into small mounds with floured hands and placing them onto a lightly floured sheet pan. Cover fritters loosely with plastic wrap or a damp tea towel and allow them to rise again for 45 minutes or until they have doubled in size.
While your fritters are rising, prepare your cooking oil. Fill dutch oven with about 2 or 3 inches of oil. Slowly heat the oil over medium heat to about 350 degrees. Please exercise caution while cooking with hot oil!
Once fritters have doubled, and oil has come to temperature, use a metal spatula to lower the fritters a few at a time into the hot oil. Use metal tongs or wooden chopsticks to flip fritters over when they have browned nicely on the bottom. Cooking time should be about 60-90 seconds total depending on the size. (It’s best to fry one or two “testers” and find what time works best for you.) Remove fritters from oil using tongs or a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. Once fritters are cool enough to comfortably touch, dip them in a simple vanilla glaze, warmed honey or cinnamon sugar.