Snake fritters

by Regula Ysewijn

Although they look like churros, the flavourings of these popular 17th century English fritters are more interesting than those of their Spanish relations.

Soak the saffron for a while to get the most out of it.

You can just multiply this recipe if you need to serve more guests. Just don’t overfill your piping bag because then it will become very hard to handle.


A few saffron threads
100ml white wine
125g butter
50g raw sugar
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
Lard, tallow or oil, to deep fry
Extra sugar, to sprinkle (optional)


Soak the saffron in the wine until the wine is nicely coloured.

In a saucepan, gently heat the wine, butter and sugar. Simmer until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the flour and baking powder. Combine well with a spatula until the mixture comes away from the pan and forms a silky-smooth ball, just like choux pastry.

Scoop the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle. Heat the lard in a deep-fryer or large heavy-based saucepan until it reaches 160C, or until a tiny bit of dough dropped in the oil turns golden brown in 30-35 secs.

Carefully but swiftly, pipe a long snake of the pastry into the hot fat. Fry until golden and transfer to sheets of kitchen towel to absorb some of the fat. Sprinkle with sugar just before serving, or leave plain if preferred.

ALTERNATIVE: Some recipes call for extra flavourings such as nutmeg or rosewater. I like to add a generous pinch of nutmeg to the batter when melting the butter.

Recipe and image: Regula Ysewijn