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Location: Petaluma, California, United States

Jacqueline is an international award winning journalist whose stories about food never fail to tantalize her reader's taste buds.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Frittelle alla Veneziana

When I was in Venice for Carnevale a few years ago I fell in love with frittelle, called fritole in Venetian dialect. Venice is famous for its pastries and among all of them the frittelle, fried dough with raisins and dusted with powdered sugar, are one of the most delicious sweet treats. This tasty treat is only made during Carnevale.  Oh my! 

Carnival starts around two weeks before Ash Wednesday and ends on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday or Martedi’ Grasso.  During this time many people dress up in elaborate costumes with mysterious masks and can be found posing in the Piazza San Marco and along the surrounding calli (streets). 

In days of yore, only rich customers could afford frittelle. Later on the delicious puffs became part of the popular cuisine.  Frittelle have represented the traditional Carnival dessert in Venice since the Renaissance. Bartolomeo Scappi, personal chef of Pope Pius V, invented the original recipe. Thanks to the exceptional popularity, this sweet was defined in the eighteenth century as "National Dessert of the Venetian State".

Carlo Goldoni (celebrated Venetian playwright and librettist) mentioned the frittelle into the comedy "Il Campiello", in 1756. 'Frittelle alla Veneziana' are renowned as one of the most ancient sweets in Italy.

Those little fired goodies have stayed in my memory and every year around this time I wish I had some. I did some research and came up with a recipe that sounds easy and thought I'd pass it on to you.

Fritole Veneziana


    * 1 1/4 cups + 2/3 cup milk
    * l tsp salt
    * 1/4 cup lukewarm water
    * 1 ounce yeast (1-1/2 cakes)
    * 1 tsp + 1 pinch sugar
    * 3 1/2 cups flour, sifted
    * 1 large egg
    * 1/4 cup grappa (substitute rum if necessary)
    * 1/4 cup pine nuts
    * 1/3 cup raisins
    * cooking oil for deep frying
    * powdered sugar


   1. Soak the raisins in the grappa.
   2. Break up the yeast in the 1/4 cup lukewarm water in a small bowl. Add a pinch of sugar and set aside. If the yeast is fresh, bubbles should begin to form immediately.
   3. Put the sifted flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix in 1 1/4 cups milk.
   4. Add the egg and mix well.
   5. While stirring, add the yeast-water mixture and an additional 2/3 cup milk.
   6. Continue stirring until smooth. This should be a very thick, doughy batter.
   7. Bubbles will start to form within the batter.
   8. Add the raisins, pine seeds, and remaining grappa and mix well.
   9. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place it in a warm, draft free spot.
  10. Allow the batter to rise for about 3 hours.
  11. Fill a deep fryer or a saucepan half full of good cooking oil. Heat the oil to 375F.
  12. Wet a tablespoon with cold water. Scoop up the batter, and with a moistened a thumb, push the batter off the spoon into the hot oil (Be careful of the oil. By dropping the batter in close to the surface you will prevent splashing.)
  13. Repeat with 4 or 5 more spoonfuls of batter. Cook the fritter until it has an even deep golden brown color, turning it once or twice during cooking. The fritters should not be too big.
  14. Remove the fritters from the oil and drain on a paper towel. Cut open this test fritter to make sure that it is cooked through. If so, proceed as described above for the remaining batter, cooking 4 or 5 fritters at a time.
  15. When the fritters have cooled, roll them in powdered sugar and place on a platter.


Blogger Laura Del Rosso said...

Wow, buone, buone! Laura

7:10 PM  
Anonymous Laura Del Rosso said...

I forgot to say that fritters are my favorite sweets in Italy -- and March 19 is coming up when they do rice fritters. yum. Thanks, Laura

7:12 PM  

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