Carnevale is a period of wild celebration and feasting that culminates on Martedi Grasso (Fat Tuesday), the day before the fasting period of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday. Enter: these decadent fritters.
The same is true even for fritters: there are the thin, crispy bugie (“lies”) of northern Piemonte, the round, puffy strufoli of central Umbria, the crescent anise zeppole of southern Sardegna, and so on.
One thing is for certain: if you’re in Italy during Carnevale, there will be plenty of sweet fried dough to enjoy.
But, if you’re not in Italy during Carnevale, try this basic recipe for fried dough at home.
Recreate these simple fritters, or add your own twist by incorporating your favorite flavors, such as raisins, lemon zest, candied citrus peel, vanilla, liqueur, and beyond.
Yield: 24 pieces
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup whole milk at room temperature
Fine sea salt, to taste
Vegetable oil, for frying
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Sift together the flour and baking powder, and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until light and frothy.
Add the sugar, and beat until light yellow.
Add the milk and a pinch of salt, and beat to combine.
Slowly add the flour mixture, whisking constantly.
This mixture should form a very tender dough.
Lightly flour a work surface, and roll out the dough with a rolling pin to about 1/8 inch. (You can also use the rollers on a pasta machine.)
With a pizza wheel, knife, or fluted pastry cutter, cut the dough into rectangles, strips, or any shape you’d like.
Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
Fill a Dutch oven or stockpot with 8 inches of the oil.
Clip a candy thermometer to the pot, and place over medium heat.
Bring the oil to 350°F, maintaining the temperature as you fry the dough.
Drop 4 or 5 pieces of dough into the oil, and fry until golden, about 2 minutes.
As they are ready, remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to the prepared baking sheet to drain.
Dust with powdered sugar, and serve warm or at room temperature.
Source and pictures: Eataly