Farmer Paula Guilbeau of Heirloom Gardens in Cumming remembers looking forward to Sunday nights on the Louisiana bayou as a child, because that was when her mother, Grace Robichaux, made eggplant fritters. "We would have tons of eggplant," Guilbeau recalls—served stuffed with crabmeat, layered with shrimp in a casserole, or sauteed with pork, beef and rice. But the fritters were best because they were made sweet, fried like traditional beignets, and served with cane syrup.
3 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Big pinch ground nutmeg
Big pinch ground cinnamon
Oil for frying
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Cane syrup (optional)
Place the eggplant in a pot, barely cover with water, and boil until tender. Drain and mash (you should have 3 cups); transfer to a mixing bowl. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon. Stir into the eggplant mixture.
In a frying pan, heat 1/2 inch oil over medium-high heat. Drop batter by spoonful into hot oil. Cook until lightly browned; turn and cook the other side. Transfer to paper towels to drain; dust with confectioners' sugar before serving. Serve with cane syrup, if desired.