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Fritters with Black Locust Flowers

fried dough with powdered sugar sprinkle on a white plate with white flowers on a green table cloth

These fritters are best enjoyed right after you make them. Invite some friends over, to share the joy. (Kayte Young)

This recipe originally comes from Jacques Pépin. It comes to us by way of Eric Pearson who wrote an essay about harvesting the flowers on a roadside in rural Kentucky.

You can hear Carl Pearson walking through the steps on this episode of Earth Eats.

Locust Flower Fritters


4 cups locust flowers, stems removed

4 tablespoons Grand Marnier or orange extract

¼ cup sugar

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 can (12 oz.) beer or plain seltzer water

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large egg whites

Peanut oil for deep frying 

Confectioner’s sugar, to dust the finished fritters


Mix the flowers, Grand Marnier (or orange extract) and sugar together in a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

When ready to cook the fritters, place the flour, about two thirds of the seltzer or beer, and the vanilla in a bowl. Mix well with a whisk until the batter is smooth, then add the remainder of the seltzer or beer, and mix well.

In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until they form peaks but are not too firm. Using a whisk, combine them with the beer batter. Fold in the locust flower mixture.

At serving time, put enough of the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven so that it is about 1 inch deep in the pan. Heat to 375 degrees. Using a large spoon or a small measuring cup, pour about 1/3 cup of the batter into the hot oil. Repeat, cooking 4 or 5 fritters at a time in the oil. Cook the fritters for about 4 minutes on one side, then turn with tongs, and cook for 4 minutes on the other side. They should be crisp and nicely browned on both sides. You can also use a deep fryer for this.

Lift the fritters from the oil with a slotted spoon, and place them on a wire rack. Repeat, making additional fritters with the remaining batter. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

Notes: This recipe is practically verbatim from Pepin’s book. The changes we made were with the seltzer and the orange extract, and we used an electric deep fryer instead of a saucepan.

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