RECIPE TITLE "Deep-Fried Sweet Pastry Balls"
from From Biba's Italian Kitchen Copyright © by Biba Caggiano.
... more great recipes by Biba Caggiano on our GREAT CHEFS page!
Makes 45 to 50 Fritters ---
Fritters! The mere word brings back images of large platters piled with these light, golden balls made of rice, ricotta, or just flour, butter, sugar, and yeast. In my youth, every household in Bologna prepared fritters. They were delicious, simple to make, and inexpensive. Unfortunately, in Italy today this type of dessert is disappearing. It's too bad because even while trying to eat a healthier diet, we are also eliminating a most basic "comfort" food.
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon active dry yeast, diluted in 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm water
Salt to taste
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Oil for frying
Additional granulated sugar, spread on a plate
In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, the diluted yeast, and a pinch of salt into a soft batter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add the remaining flour, eggs, butter, and sugar to the batter, and mix well to incorporate. Knead the dough by hand, or with an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, until it is smooth, soft, and pliable, and just a bit sticky, 5 to 6 minutes by hand or 2 to 3 minutes with the mixer. Place the dough in a lightly floured large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until it has doubted in volume, 1 to 1 1/2. hours.
Transfer the dough to a wooden board and flatten it down with your hands. Knead it lightly for a minute or two. Divide the dough into 2 or 3 pieces. Flour your hands lightly and roll out each piece of dough with a light back-and-forth motion into a roll about the thickness of a thin sausage. Cut each roll into 1-inch pieces and place them on a lightly floured platter or cookie sheet.
Pour 2 inches of oil in a medium-size saucepan. When the oil is very hot (375 °F. on a thermometer), drop a few pieces of dough at a time into the hot oil. When the fritters are golden on both sides, remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
Roll the fritters in the additional sugar, pile them on a serving platter, and serve hot.
You can till the fritters with a dollop of thick jam, pastry cream, fruit puree, or zabaglione. Place the tilling in a small pastry bag fitted with a small tip, press the tip into the fritters, and till.
From Biba's Italian Kitchen. Copyright © by Biba Caggiano. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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