Typically eaten during Carnevale, just before the Lenten period begins, these soft and fragrant frittelle are hard to resist. I love this time of the year in Italy, when the air is heady with the scent of fried goods and people are feeling festive and indulgent. It’s almost spring, but the chill is certainly still in the air, and walking around with a paper cone filled with fried treats is the norm. Because yeast isn’t required, these frittelle come together in just a few minutes and are usually eaten in the same amount of time. Sometimes I like to use grappa-soaked sultanas, patting them dry before adding them to the mixture, or I’ll add a splash of rum or marsala to the batter for extra flavour.
Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s apple and ricotta frittelle
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200 g fresh full-fat ricotta
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 tablespoon rum or marsala (optional)
1 granny smith apple, coarsely grated
2 tbsp sultanas
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch ground cinnamon
Zest of 1 lemon
200 g (1 ⅓ cups) self-raising flour
Vegetable oil, for deep-frying
Icing sugar, for dusting
In a large bowl, whisk together the ricotta, eggs, sugar and rum or marsala, if using, until fairly smooth. Change to a wooden spoon or spatula and stir the grated apple, sultanas, vanilla extract, cinnamon and lemon zest through the ricotta base. Gently fold the flour through until just incorporated. It is really important that you don’t overmix the batter as it will result in tough frittelle. Some lumps are totally fine.
Heat enough vegetable oil for deep-frying in a large saucepan or deep-fryer to 170°C. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, scoop heaped tablespoons of the batter into the oil and deep-fry for 2 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. They will be a little irregular in shape, and that is totally fine. Drain on paper towel.
Dust the frittelle with icing sugar and serve warm.