This classic Japanese recipe is traditionally savoury. I have transformed it from a starter into an interesting dessert and teamed it with a salted caramel sauce.
250ml ice-cold sparkling water
½ egg, beaten
100g plain flour plus extra for coating
½ tsp baking powder
1 apple, cored and sliced
1 pear, cored and sliced
1 banana, peeled and sliced at an angle
Icing sugar, to serve
Vegetable oil, for frying
For the sauce:
100g granulated sugar
100g unsalted butter
100ml double cream
5ml soy sauce
1 tsp good quality salt
To make the tempura batter: mix the egg into the cold water and sift in the flours and baking powder.
Gently mix together with a fork, making sure not to combine too much (this makes the batter chewy when fried). The batter should be thick and lumpy.
Heat the vegetable oil to 180°C and warm your oven on its lowest setting.
Roll the fruit pieces in plain flour and dip one or two pieces at a time in the batter, covering them totally but allowing the excess to drip off.
Carefully lower into the hot oil and fry for 3-4 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden.
Drain on kitchen paper and keep warm in the oven before serving. Repeat until all the fruit has been fried.
Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and salted caramel sauce for dipping.
To make the caramel: dissolve the sugar in the water in a heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat. Do not stir.
When the sugar has dissolved turn up the heat and boil until a brown-mahogany colour. Immediately remove from the heat and whisk in the butter.
Add the cream and continue to whisk. The sauce will be a golden colour and thin — it thickens as it cools. Stir in the soy sauce and salt.
Cool before serving.