Recipe: Pumpkin & Cider Fritters with Crispy Sage

Autumn heralds the beginning of pumpkin season, a celebratory vegetable which can be used for so much more than soup or the ubiquitous pumpkin pie. 

This recipe is perfect for when you have guests over. It’s a great canape, or a light meal when served with a nice winter salad. You can make it a couple of days in advance, keep in the fridge and reheat in a medium oven for 20 minutes or so.  You can even make it now and freeze for when the neighbours unexpectedly pop round for a Christmas drink or two. Half an hour at 160˚C should do it.

It happens to be vegan (if you omit the grated pecorino garnish) and if you’d like to make it gluten free simply substitute the plain flour for gram flour or a gluten free plain flour, both will work perfectly well.

This recipe makes around 20-30 fritters depending on how large you make them.


  • 700g peeled and diced pumpkin/squash
  • 1 garlic clove (whole)
  • 200g grated pumpkin/squash
  • ½ medium onion finely diced
  • 12 sage leaves
  • More sage leaves for frying (garnish)
  • ½ green chilli (optional)
  • 250g plain flour (or GF alternative)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 300ml (ish) sparkling cider
  • Salt, pepper
  • Pecorino or Parmesan to garnish.
  • Vegetable oil for frying


1. Place the diced pumpkin in a roasting pan with the whole garlic clove, season, add a drizzle of oil and roast at a high temperature (200˚C plus) for 35/45 minutes until cooked through and slightly caramelised.

2. Meanwhile, put the grated pumpkin, onion, 12 chopped sage leaves, the nutmeg, the green chilli (if using) in a mixing bowl.

3. Season with salt and pepper.

4. Add the flour and baking powder and mix so all the grated pumpkin is well coated.

5. By now the roast pumpkin should be about ready. Give it a little prod to make sure it’s nice and soft, allow to cool for a couple of minutes and then stir into the batter mix.

6. Add half of the cider, mix well then and then add more until it becomes a nice spoon able consistency.

7. Heat a large frying pan and pour in enough vegetable oil until it is around 1cm deep, heat until 180º C is achieved. (Try a sage leaf, it should bubble and rise to the top within 5 seconds)

8. Fry the sage for garnishing, remove and drain after 60 seconds.

9. Fry the fritters in batches, use two dessert spoons to spoon into the hot oil, cook for 5 minutes before turning and finishing for 4 minutes on the other side. If it browns too quickly, turn your heat down slightly.

10. Drain on kitchen paper and continue until you have used all the mixture.

11. Arrange on serving plates and garnish with the crispy sage leaves and a little grated pecorino.


Lewis Slayden