Light and fluffy pumpkin fritters (pampoen koekies) with caramel sauce. This recipe handed down to me by my gran is nostalgia on a plate and will become a family favorite in no time.
Whenever my gran brought a tray of these delicious pumpkin fritters out after lunch, I jumped up and down like only a little girl in love with her gran’s cooking can. I was obsessed with the light and fluffy fritters covered in rich caramel sauce. And now, years later, I feel no different.
Whilst writing my first book my beloved gran passed away and even though I was heartbroken, the memories I have of her will always put a smile on my face. Like the number of times I begged her to bake cookies with me. We rolled out the dough, cut the cookies and I waited patiently whilst the first batch was in the oven. The moment they were cool enough to touch, I would take the whole tray and go sit in the corner, scoffing them one by one, leaving my gran to roll out, cut and bake the rest.
She never got irritated and she never became impatient. I learned that food could heal and that the kitchen was a place that things were forgiven. Her memory will forever live on in our minds and hearts and most definitely also her recipes. She changed the way our family thought about food and she was most definitely the biggest food influence in my life. I learned to cook by her knee. I miss her everyday but I’m sad while doing so, because a life like hers should only be celebrated.
Back to these phenomenal pumpkin fritters (or as we call them in Afrikaans, Pampoen koekies), they really are all they are hyped up to be. I once cooked a fellow food blogger friend a batch and he proceeded to eat close to 20. In one sitting. They are rich, sticky, buttery and absolutely drool-worthy.
My gran used to serve them with this caramel sauce and I remember it being a light coloured but incredibly rich sauce. I normally allow it to cook a bit more to get a deeper colour but then you might need to add a bit more cream. I also added a pinch of salt flakes as the salty caramel works so well with the pumpkin. Everyone I feed these to falls instantly in love with my ouma’s pampoen koekies and I guarantee that you will too!
How do you make pumpkin fritters?
The batter is incredibly simple and very much the same as a pancake batter. Flour (you can use 1:1 gluten free flour if you wish), sugar and baking powder are mixed with pumpkin puree, egg and milk to form a smooth, thick batter. Spoonfuls of the batter are fried until golden and crisp before being drenched in delicious caramel sauce.
Can you freeze pumpkin fritters?
The fritters will lose their texture when frozen so its not recommended. They are best served fresh and warm but you can make them a few hours ahead and keep them covered, in a low-heated oven for up to 2/3 hours. You can also pour over the caramel sauce ahead of time to allow the fritters to soak up the sauce. You can also refrigerate the fritter batter covered for up to 2 days ahead of time.
My gran's pumpkin fritters | Pampoen koekies
For the fritters
- 1 cup pumpkin cooked and pureed
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoon caster sugar
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
- pinch of salt
- oil for deep frying
For the Caramel Sauce
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 cup cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tbsp butter
- ½ cup golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
For the fritters
- Combine all the ingredients and mix until you have a smooth batter.
- Heat the oil in a medium saucepan and fry spoonfuls of the batter until golden brown and cooked throughout, approximately 2-3 minutes.
- Remove from the oil and allow to drain on kitchen paper.
- Continue until all the fritters are cooked.
For the Caramel Sauce
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and allow to cook over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the sauce is thick and glossy.
- Pour the syrup over the fritters and serve.