As we are celebrating Carnival and Martedi Grasso “Fat Tuesday”, we want to share with you one of our hidden treasures. Today we will take you for a visit to our local pastry shop, Ai Portici, in our medieval hometown of Portogruaro, which is located in the country side of Venice, and we will discover a traditional family recipe of Frittelle!
Frittelle are Venetian fried doughnuts which are served throughout the Carnival season mainly in the Veneto region of northeast Italy. This is really a treat which I am excited to share as I consider frittelle one of the best pastries that there is! We wait all year for Carnival to arrive so that we can enjoy them while sipping our morning coffee!
Frittelle are the undisputed queen of Venetian desserts, and during Carnival everyone is enjoying them to the maximum: in the morning with coffee at the midmorning snack, in the afternoon for a midafternoon snack, after dinner as dessert; really, every moment is the perfect moment to enjoy frittelle!
Frittelle has always been considered the national cake of the Serenissima Republic of Venice, which existed from the 7th century to the 17th century when Venice was not yet part of the country Italy. Nowadays, frittelle are enjoyed not only in Venice but also throughout Italy, though they are still considered typical of the Veneto region and predominately enjoyed there.
Did you know that Frittelle were originally produced exclusively by fritoleri? (those who produce Frittelle). This role was even made official by the creation of an association of Fritoleri in 1600.
The fritoleri association was formed by seventy members, each with their own designated area where they could exclusively exercise the commercial activity of making and selling frittelle. They had the guarantee that only their children could continue this activity, passing on the art and business in the family, from father to son. This restriction came to an end only in the late 1800’s, and then everyone was allowed to make their own frittelle.
As time went by, each family made their own version of the frittelle recipe, which they passed down from generation to generation.
Today Pastry Chef Paulino Bellomo will share his family’s secret frittelle recipe with us.
Watch the video to meet first-hand Chef Paulino, Nadia, and Francesca and see how Frittelles are made!
Ingredients to make Frittelle:
2 cups (1 lb) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (1.77 oz) rice flour
Juice and peel of 1/2 lemon
Juice and peel of 1/2 orange
½ cup (4.4 oz ) granulated sugar
1/3 cup (2.64 oz) Candoni Moscato Wine
1 1/2 tablespoon (.88 oz ) Acacia honey
2.5 (1.23 oz ) tablespoons butter
¼ cup (1.76 oz) whole milk
1/2 tablespoon (1/2 tablespoon) sea salt
1 tablespoon yeast
½ cups (3.93 oz) raisins soaked in Candoni Moscato
1/2 tablespoon vanilla
Powder sugar to decorate
4 ½ cups (2.2 pounds) sunflower oil to fry at 320 degrees Fahrenheit
In a big bowl, add the following ingredients one at a time, mixing alternately between each ingredient: add the eggs, the milk, the acacia honey, the melted butter, the lemon juice, and the grated lemon zest. Make sure all is mixed well.
Then add the raisins which have already been soaked in Candoni Moscato for at least one hour. Make sure to drain the raisins well prior to putting into the mixture.
Again, add the following ingredients one at a time, mixing alternately between each ingredient Add the glass of Candoni Moscato, the rice flour, the all-purpose flour, and the yeast. Mix all well. (You can even use your hands to mix the ingredients)
Let the mixture rest for about 10 minutes and then move to the frying pan.
Take a spoonful of dough and with your finger push off the spoon into the oil. (Be careful to not put your finger in the oil.) Fry in vegetable oil heated to 360 degrees F. until golden, puffy and crispy. Drain on paper towels and then decorate with some powdered sugar. Serve immediately. ENJOY!