To celebrate Chinese New Year, I’ve been experimenting with a sweet twist on the classic spring roll. It takes a great deal to make me want to deep-fry, but these treats are worth the potential splatter and greasiness, believe me. Somewhere between a strudel and a spring roll, this is the culinary equivalent of my cultural heritage.
Cinnamon spiced apple spring rolls
3 Cox’s apples, cored and cut into 2cm cubes
1 tsp ground cinnamon
35g raw cane sugar
Pinch of sea salt
Juice of ½ lemon
12-14 ready-made 15cm x 15cm spring roll wrappers
1 litre groundnut oil, for frying (use another oil, suitable for deep fat frying if you can’t eat nuts or can’t get hold of groundnut oil)
Icing sugar, to serve
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan on a medium-to-low heat. Once melted, add the cubed apples along with the ground cinnamon, sugar, sea salt and lemon juice. Place the lid on the pan and turn the heat down to low. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the cubes are tender but still keeping their shape. Transfer to a baking tray and leave to cool before placing in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes (or until cold).
Once cold, remove from the fridge. Take one spring roll wrapper and place a heaped tablespoon of the mixture along the centre leaving a margin either side of 2cm. Fold the sides over to cover the edges of the filling, then fold over the top and roll down tightly to encase the filling. Wet your fingers and dab the end to seal the edge. Set aside and repeat with further wrappers until you have used up the rest of the filling.
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based saucepan or wok to approximately 160C on a thermometer. Or heat and test the oil temperature by putting a breadcrumb in the oil. You want it to sizzle and turn golden after about 15 seconds. Fry the spring rolls in batches so as not to crowd the pan too much. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave to drain on kitchen paper or a wire rack. Serve dusted with icing sugar.
Recipe originally appeared in my Evening Standard column.