These bite-sized morsels are a perfect pre-dinner nibble. The
great thing about this recipe is that you can make the mixture up
to a day in advance, and cook the beignets just before serving.
90 gmbutter, coarsely chopped1 tbspthyme leaves, plus extra to serve400 gmparsnips (about 2 large), cored and coarsely chopped3garlic cloves200 mlmilk80 gmplain flour2eggs120 gmcoarsely grated GruyèreFor deep-frying:vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 200C. Melt one-third of the butter and half the thyme in a small saucepan. Scatter parsnip and garlic in a single layer on a baking-paper-lined oven tray, drizzle with butter mixture, season to taste and roast until caramelised and very tender (35-40 minutes). Process in a food processor until very smooth and set aside.
Combine milk, remaining butter and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil over low heat. Whisk in flour, whisking continuously until mixture thickens and pulls away from sides of pan (1-2 minutes). Cool slightly, then add eggs one at a time, beating well to combine. Cool completely then fold in parsnip mixture, cheese and remaining thyme.
Preheat vegetable oil in a deep-sided saucepan or deep-fryer to 170C. Deep-fry quenelles of mixture in batches until golden and cooked through (4-5 minutes), drain on absorbent paper and serve immediately scattered with sea salt and extra thyme.