These slightly sweet, crispy cornmeal fritters, called "festival," are served all over Jamaica; supposedly, they get their name because eating them is like having a festival in your mouth. Bradford Thompson's favorites are from Aunt May's, a dirt-floored shack on Hellshire Beach near Kingston.
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2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup evaporated milk
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
How to Make It
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the evaporated milk and stir until a dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead just until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a thick rope. Cut the dough into 24 pieces and roll each piece into a 9-inch rope. Bring both ends together and twist each rope tightly.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil to 350°. Fry the twists, about 8 at a time, until golden all over, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain on paper towels and serve hot.
The recipe can be prepared through Step 2 and kept at room temperature, covered, for up to 1 hour.
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