Feb 2004 - Fritelle
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Fritelle are common in the Veneto community in this Carnival or pre-Lenten period. These fritters are special in this festive period perhaps due to the fact that cooking oil was a rather scarce commodity in the northern regions of Italy (olive trees have a harder time to thrive) and using oil to fry up a dessert was reserved for the most special of occasions. Following is my mother-in-laws recipe. Please note that all recipes vary a bit in their ingredient mix, but they usually all have the following ingredients in common: raisins, apples and/or oranges, and of course the elixir of life itself: Grappa.
4 cups of Milk
1 pinch of Salt
1 ½ cups Sugar
1 ¼ cups Durum Semolina
2 cups Raisins
1 large Apple - peeled and grated
1 large Orange - grated and juiced
1 oz of Grappa for the recipe; 2 oz of Grappa for the cook
4 Eggs (chicken)
3 cups Flour
4 teaspoons of Baking Powder
Place 1 ½ cups of sugar into a high sided bowl.
Bring the 4 cups of milk to a slight boil and add the pinch of salt.
Slowly stir in the 1 ¼ cups of durum semolina into the milk until the mixture firms up (approx. 3 minutes)
Immediately transfer the semolina and milk mixture into the bowl containing the sugar and mix very well and rapidly to avoid lumps.
Once the mixture is consistent, add the other ingredients: raisins, grated apple, grated orange and juice, grappa; add the 4 eggs once the mixture has cooled off a bit.
Add the flour in a bit at a time with the baking powder and stir slowly until a smooth and consistent batter is achieved. The batter must be firm enough to be pushed off the spoon with your finger.
Cover bowl with a cloth and let stand for 10 minutes.
In the meantime, heat several inches of sunflower oil in a wide frying pan.
Using a tablespoon, place a bit of the batter into the pan (the size of a Timbit). The fritters cook very fast (about 2 minutes) and need to be turned so they brown on both sides.
Cook only as many fritters as will fit in the pan without sticking to each other.
Once cooked, remove the fritelle and place on a cookie sheet covered with towels to absorb some of the oil.
Sprinkle with sugar while the fritelle are still hot.
Serves a multitude or you can eat them all yourself. Enjoy.
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