Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Fritole are just like mini Italian doughnuts, except they are filled with fruit and grappa - an Italian brandy - instead of cream and jelly. They are a favorite in the northeast of the country where they are often eaten around Christmas, Easter, and the Carnival of Venice, which happens before the Catholic fasting period of Lent. In North America, we eat pancakes on Mardi Gras; in Venice, they eat boozy doughnuts. It's not that different.
My Italian grandparents make fritole (unglamorously translating to "fritter" in English) for my family several times a year and I recently paid close attention to the ingredients as they were being made. Each region has its distinct recipe with variations on nuts, spices, alcoholic beverages and fruit content. My Nonna's version contains quite a bit of dried and fresh fruit which is not as typical in other recipes, but it tastes amazing all the same. She also uses eggs and milk in her version which I have swapped out for flax and water. Honestly, you can't tell the difference in regards to flavor as there is so much going on already.
These will keep for up to 5 days, covered.
For 3 dozen.
- 1.5 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water)
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water or vanilla almond milk
- 1/2 cup brandy soaked raisons
- 2 tablespoons grappa
- 1 apple, grated
- Zest from 1 orange
- Pinch of salt
- Oil for frying
- Powdered sugar, to serve.
*If you want these to be non-alcoholic, substitute grappa for 1 teaspoon rum extract, and soak the raisins in hot water so they become plump.
- Start by proofing the yeast. In a small bowl combine yeast, sugar and warm water, stir and set aside.
- In a large bowl combine flour, sugar and salt and whisk together.
- Add the apple, orange zest and raisins and stir until they are dusted with flour.
- Add the flax-egg, grappa and yeast-water and stir together.
- Cover with a tea towel and allow the runny dough to rise for at least an hour in a warm place (warmth speeds up the activation).
- Line a plate or box with paper towels to collect excess oil.
- Heat a generous amount of oil at least 2 inches deep in a wok or frying pan (or a deep fryer if you have one) and drop a teaspoon of dough into the hot oil.
- Fry until golden-brown, flipping if you have to.
- Drain on paper towels to cool and serve with a dusting of powdered sugar.
Image from flickr.com