Every year in Venice during the exciting Carnival season, the window displays of all the pastry shops and bakeries are filled with masses of golden-brown frìtole.
The most traditional ones are plain and are called "sensa gnente" (without filling), however, you can also find frìtole filled with all kinds of delicious fillings - from yummy custard, ricotta cheese, or zabaglione to rich chocolate cream as well as frìtole made into different shapes - round, small, big or even ones with a hole in the middle.
Here 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 deep-fried in oil.
The raisins should be soaked in liqueur which rehydrates them and at the same time adds aroma to the frìtole. In this recipe we used rum but you can use the liqueur of your choice (grappa, anise liqueur, Grand Marnier). The grated lemon zest adds a burst of fresh citrus flavour to these delicious fritters.
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 on the day that they are made and they are a perfect treat to share during gatherings with your family and friends. We encourage you to try our proven recipes for other fried Carnival sweets such as delicious crostoli enriched with ricotta cheese or castagnole prepared with sweet chestnut flour.
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COOKS IN: 30 minutes plus rising time
- 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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