60 ml (¼ cup)maple syrupFor deep-frying:canola oil300 gmsmall cauliflower florets (about ¼)50 gmtoasted pine nutsFor drizzling:extra-virgin olive oilWine-soaked currants100 ml eachred wine and tawny1golden shallot, thinly sliced2thyme sprigs80 gmcurrantsAïoli2egg yolks2roasted garlic cloves (see note)1 tsplemon juice½ tspDijon mustard160 ml (⅔ cup)olive oilCauliflower batter100 gm (⅔ cup)plain flour10 gm (just over 1 tbsp) eachground cumin and ground coriander2 tspground nutmeg1 tspcayenne pepper280 mlsoda water
Preheat oven to 120C. Combine walnuts and maple syrup in a bowl, stir to coat, spread on an oven tray lined with baking paper and bake until golden and crisp (1 hour).
Meanwhile, for wine-soaked currants, bring wine, tawny, shallot and thyme to the boil in a saucepan. Place currants in a heatproof bowl, add red wine mixture and stand until currants soften (30 minutes). Strain (discard liquid and thyme sprigs) and cool completely.
Meanwhile, for aïoli, whisk yolks, roasted garlic, lemon juice and mustard in a bowl. Whisking continuously, add oil, starting a drop at a time to prevent splitting, then gradually in a thin, steady stream, until incorporated. Season to taste and set aside.
For cauliflower batter, mix dry ingredients in a bowl, then add enough soda water to form a light batter.
Preheat oil in a deep saucepan or deep-fryer to 160C. Dip cauliflower florets into batter and deep-fry in batches, turning occasionally, until golden (4-5 minutes; be careful as hot oil will spit). Drain briefly on absorbent paper, then transfer to a serving bowl, scatter with wine-soaked currants, candied walnuts and pine nuts, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and serve with aïoli.
Note To roast garlic, preheat oven to 200C, wrap a head of garlic tightly in foil and roast until very soft (40 minutes). When cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from skin.
This recipe is from the February 2012 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.