If you have visited Venice you should have tried their most popular carnival sweet - frìtole veneziane. These fried sweets comes in a different shapes and fillings but the original ones are the plain one (in Italian senza niente).
We we'll share with you the original version of the recipe for frìtole veneziane (known in the Venetian dialect as frìtoe venessiane) which consists of a sweet dough made with flour, eggs, milk, raisins and pine nuts and then deep-fried in oil.
The raisins soaked in the liqueur add flavour to the dough and fresh lemon zest adds a burst of fresh citrus flavour.
We assure you that the batter for frìtole is so simple to prepare and once it has risen and ready it should be thick and sticky. However, the finished frìtole are light, golden balls that crunch delicately as you bite into them.
As with any fried food, frìtole veneziane are best eaten freshly made!
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MAKES: 30 COOKS IN: 30 minutes plus rising time DIFFICULTY: Moderate
220 g plain flour
1 teaspoon dry yeast
40 g caster sugar
1 pinch of salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1 medium egg
30 g pine nuts
30 g raisins
40 ml rum (anise liqueur or grappa)
120 ml milk
Sunflower oil for frying
Icing sugar for dusting
Soak the raisins in the liqueur of your choice for about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, yeast, sugar and salt and grated lemon zest. Make a well in the centre and break the egg into it, then by using a fork, start to incorporate it into the flour mix. Add the pine nuts and raisins with the soaking liqueur. Now add the lukewarm milk and mix everything until it comes together and you get a sticky dough.
Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until it has doubled in volume and the surface is full of tiny bubbles.
Fill 2/3 of a medium-sized saucepan with sunflower oil. Place it on a medium heat and wait until it reaches a temperature of 180°C which can be tested by inserting the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil, when small bubbles form around the handle, it's ready.
Using two teaspoons, take a small amount of the dough and for a round shape using both spoons, then slip it into the hot oil. Fry 5-6 frìtole at a time, turning with a slotted spoon until they are golden on all sides. Adjust the heat during the frying to prevent the oil from burning.
Drain with the slotted spoon and transfer them to a large plate lined with paper towels.
Leave the frìtole to cool slightly before dusting them with icing sugar. Enjoy them while they're still warm!
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