Fritelle – A Venetian Tradition

Fritelle DalMas Venice Italy

Fritelle con la crema at DalMas, Lista di Spagna, Venezia with cappuccino

Well Carnevale 2021 just kicked off…a virtual event. As you may remember, Carnevale 2020 closed 2 days before Martedì Grasso (Fat Tuesday) when few of us even had heard of COVID. I remember standing in Piazza San Marco on Martedì Grasso pretty much alone, and that is how it is today. At least that day Bar Americano was still open as were the shops along the square. This year is very different with most all shops and bars closed. There are bars and restaurants open in Venice, those that cater to the local crowd, but for Piazza San Marco which is a tourist destination, well there are no tourist.

I decided to make my own since I can’t have my favorite Fritelle at DalMas on Lista di Spagna near the train station (on a really glutinous day I also head over to Tonolo, just to taste test, in the Dorosoduro sestiere of Venice).  I inquired from friends in Venice for their favorite recipe, I scoured the web and I bought a scale to measure in grams. I bought a large, deep electric fryer and a gallon of oil.

The recipes all call for olio di semi di arachide, peanut oil, though I have never actually seen peanut oil in the grocery stores in Venice. But in the future I will use vegetable oil and for those of you with allergies, be sure you use vegetable.

Otherwise the recipe is simple, you just need a couple hours from start to stuffing these scrumptious bites into your mouth.

First the ingredients you will need. I have converted them from metric to the US Cups, but it not precise of course. And it is best to use an electric fryer so you can maintain the temperature. And you need to have the oil about 2-3 inches deep. They will go to the bottom and then pop to the top as they get hot.

As a note, make the Filling first and put in the refrigerator so it is slightly cold when you start putting it in. I used a large cake decorating bag with a large tube and first cut a small hole in the fritelle to insert the filling.

150 gr plain flour  (~1 1/2 cup)

eggs

250 ml of water (~8 1/2 ounces)

60 gr of butter  (~1/4 Cup)

50 gr of granulated sugar (~ 1/4 cup)

a pinch of salt

Vegetable oil for frying 340F (175C)

For the Cream:

egg yolks,

1/2 liter of milk  (~4 1/4 cup)

150 g of granulated sugar  (~ 3/4 cup)

30 g of flour  (~ 1/4 cup)

vanilla pod, (or just use 1 teaspoon of Vanilla)

a pinch of salt.

Frittel Frying

They will float and you want them a little darker

  1. Prepare the dough for the frittelle.
  2. Place the water, the sugar, the salt and the butter in a saucepan and bring to boil. As soon as it boils, add the flour in one go and mix fast very well keeping the pan on high heat – be careful not to burn it. As soon as the mixture pulls away from the pan remove from the heat. Leave it to stand while it cools down.
  3. Take the frittelle mixture, add one egg at time mixing extremely well. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer.
  4. Heat up the oil – to check when it is ready, take a wooden spoon and insert it in the pan. If bubbles appears around the spoon, then the oil is ready.
  5. Use two teaspoons to gather the dough into little balls of the mixture to the oil (not too many at time). The little balls will start to float and increase in size. Remove as soon as they are nice and golden.

Making the filling

Once you have cooked all the frittelle, take the vanilla pod away from the cream (or add the Vanilla)  and insert the cream in each one using a sache poche.

Prepare the filling: place the egg yolks and the sugar in a pan and whisk well until it is pale. Add the pinch of salt and the flour and mix well. Slowly add the milk making sure not to have any lumps. Place on a slow heat and brig to boil till the cream goes nice and thick. Place the vanilla pod in the cream. Set aside to cool.

Dust the frittelle with icing sugar and serve.

Ok, for my first ever fritelle, they are quite good. I made a double recipe and at the end of the night….well there were 2 left.

Couldn’t Resist a Spritz! after all that work

If you try making them, let me know how they turned out. We threw on some Mardi Gras beads, and an old Carnevale costume for atmosphere.

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