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George Washington's papers contain many references to corn, a popular vegetable that was enjoyed fresh during the summer, or dried for winter use, ground into meal for bread, or made into mush.

This recipe, virtually identical to most modern versions, was adapted by culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump from one in the Mary Custis Lee Papers at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond.

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups fresh corn kernels (about 12 ears corn)
  • About 1 cup lard or vegetable oil
  • Directions

    1. In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks until foamy. Add the half-and-half, flour, and salt, combining well. Stir in the corn.
    2. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold into the corn mixture until well combined.
    3. Melt the lard in a frying pan over medium-high heat. (Once melted, it should be about 2 inches deep.) Heat until the oil sizzles when a small amount of batter is dropped into it.
    4. Reduce the heat to medium, and drop in tablespoonfuls of the batter, frying the fritters on both sides until golden brown. (To prevent the fritters from touching and maintain the oil's temperature, do not crowd the pan.) Set the fritters on paper towels to remove the excess oil, and set each batch aside to keep warm while frying the remaining batter.
    5. Pile the fritters into a serving bowl, and serve hot.

    Serves 6 to 8

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