“Cherry blossoms, the noble flowers, have witnessed countless encounters throughout the ages…Cherry blossoms, the short-lived flowers, have seen so many good-byes…And again, this year, they bloom to watch over a lot of emotions, in the season of beginnings called Spring!”
Spring and April provides quite a welcome respite from the cold wicked winters that the east coast sees. It brings in a time of renewal, new life, new hope, green prosperity, colors in abundance, cherry blossom, sunshine and joy! The air suddenly is filled with celebration, stirring in a festive mood. You find little children happily playing around, and people wishing friends and family…You begin to look forward to a bright lovely year ahead…
I have never loved winters. Though I like to see and feel season’s first snow, I am not a fan of living in cold. ‘M a no-parkas kind of a person. Therefore, come spring, and I feel like a sleepy pupa metamorphosing into a beautiful butterfly and getting ready for its first flight. I love Cherry blossom. They are magical, delicate, dreamy, delightful and amazingly gorgeous! It is one of those very few things that make me fall in love with a land, far away from my country.
I grew up in India, a tropically temperate country, that technically sees no spring. During my early years, all I knew about “Cherry Blossom” was this “Cherry Blossom Boot Polish”, a British shoe-care brand that was (and still is) a leading shoe polish brand in India. Their decades-old and popular advertising campaign featured a Charlie-Chaplin look-alike promoting the products. Their shoe-wax still comes packed in an old-fashioned round tin-cans that you have to press at a point (and press hard with both thumbs sometimes) to pop open!
America gave me a new meaning (or rather the actual meaning) of “Cherry Blossom”. We usually do these local little go-around trips and scenic drives in Spring. But due to our late-March trip to India this year, we missed the best part of Cherry Blossom. When I came back, we were already well into April. It usually rains often during this time. And when it does, it brings down the short-lived blossom even quicker. The few flowers that were left on Japanese cherry trees, anyways were all going soon (you see how little is left of the blossom on the branch I pictured with my cherries and fritters!). Since I missed this season for most part this time, I wanted to symbolically hold on to a part of it. And blend-in a tiny bit of this spring into a little joy! So, I made Cherry Fritters the other day and they turned out fantastic. In America, fritters are usually small fried cake balls. But Cherry Fritters are versions that redefine dessert to a desserty snack if you will. These fritters are subtle, soft and mildly sweet. Some people like these fritters sour (that is the natural taste of cherries) and use lesser sugar that that’s usually prescribed in recipes. Mine hangs in between — not too sweet, not too sour. Make them and share them with family and friends over coffee. Believe me, there’s nothing quite like it!
- 2 cups* wheat flour or Atta (or all-purpose flour or Maida)
- 25-30 dark sweet Cherries (Frozen or Fresh)
- 2 Eggs
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- 1 cup* milk
- 6 tbsp of brown sugar (or white sugar) — use about 2 tbsp for sour fritters
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp light olive oil (or melted butter)
- 2 tsp ground Cloves (Lavang powder) or use Cinnamon powder if you like the taste better
- 1 tsp pure Vanilla extract
- Olive or vegetable oil for deep frying the fritters
- Some Icing or Confectioner’s sugar for garnishment
- I used frozen cherries and could directly chop them. Do not wash frozen cherries (they come pre-cleaned). Cop each cherry into 2-3 pieces. (If using fresh cherries, use only after they’re washed, stemmed and pitted)
- In a mixing bowl, crack the eggs, add the light olive oil, brown sugar and salt. Whisk them well with a spoon.
- Add the ground cloves, vanilla extract, milk and baking powder. Beat them well into the mixture.
- Now add the wheat flour in two installments or all at once and mix them together to blend uniformly.
- Add the chopped cherries and fold the mixture to distribute the fruit chunks evenly.
- Heat sufficient oil in a frying pan over low-medium heat (cherry fritters need to be cooked slow and cooked well upto the core)
- Using a tablespoon, carefully drop spoonfuls of mixture balls into hot oil. Fry them and flip them to turn sides until the fritters are uniformly fried and are rich brown in color. (Avoid over frying or burning)
- Once done, spoon out the fritters onto an absorbing kitchen towel to soak any excess oil.
- Do all the fritters in batches.
- When the fritters are done and ready, transfer them to a serving bowl and sprinkle some Icing/Confectioner’s sugar to decorate and serve!