3 cinnamon sticks
3 large cho-chos (mirlitons)
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon melted butter
Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
Coconut Rum Sauce, recipe follows
Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the cinnamon sticks and cho-chos. Boil until tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. Drain and cool cho-chos until cool enough to handle. Peel the cho-chos, remove and discard the seeds, and roughly chop.Place in a food processor and pulse until mashed and smooth. Place the pulp in a fine-meshed strainer and using a rubber spatula, drain off any excess moisture from the mashed cho-chos. (Need about 1 cup of the mashed, drained puree.)
Pour oil into a heavy pan to a depth of 2 inches. Preheat oil to 360 degrees F.
Combine the flour, allspice, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl; stir to combine well. Whisk together the cho-cho puree, eggs, vanilla extract, and melted butter in a separate bowl. Add the cho-cho mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.
Using a tablespoon scoop or small ice cream scoop, fry the fritters in batches in the preheated oil, until golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Garnish with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately, drizzled with Coconut Rum Sauce.
Coconut Rum Sauce:
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise to remove seeds
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
2 tablespoons white or coconut rum
Allow sauce to boil for about 5 minutes, until bubbly and thickened and remove from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean pods and stir in the rum. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap, pressing down on the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate to serve cold.
Yield: about 2 cups