Italian Carnival Treats - Frittelle di Mele – Apple Fritters
Italian Holidays bring with them specialty dishes and desserts. These treats are made only during that particular celebration. Italian recipes are also very local. They are based on ingredients that grow locally and are abundant during the season. Carnival in Trentino-Alto Adige has given us a great treat, the Apple Fritter, in Italian shops it is called Frittelle di Mele. Today, during Carnival, you will find Apple Fritters just about anywhere in Northern Italy and from Bergamo to Trieste a visit to someone’s home will most probably lead to an unscheduled feast of these pastries.
They look like flat doughnuts and most likely are Austrian in origin because the pastella, the dough used to cover the apple slice, is the same used for many types of Krafen. Once dipped in the slightly sweet dough they are fried in Olive Oil. Naturally sweet and powdered with confectioners sugar these pastries are a favorite kids for midmorning and afternoon snacks.
Remember that with recipes that depend on simple and balanced flavors instead of sugar you need to find the best quality ingredients available. Try a farmer’s market for the apples, it may be farther away than your local supermarket but the end result will be significantly better. When you make these delights, try them with an Alto Adige Moscato Giallo.
Ingredients for 4 people:
6 Granny or 4 Golden Apples
1 ¾ cups (200 g) all-purpose Flour, sifted
1 package (7 g) Active Dry Yeast
Peel of 1 lemon grated
½ cup (130 ml) warm Milk
½ stick (50 g) unsalted melted Butter
5 tbsp sugar or 1 ½ oz. Grappa (if using Grappa eliminate adding sugar to the flour)
Pinch of salt
Olive Oil to fry the Fritters
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Let the yeast activate for 5 minutes.
Sift together the salt, flour and sugar (if not using Grapa).
In a mixing bowl, mix together the milk-yeast, lemon peel, grappa (if using), melted butter, and eggs. While it is not necessary to beat the eggs they should be well broken.
Begin adding the flour mixture to the liquids, stirring with a large spoon. Continue adding flour until the mixture is firm but could not be worked by hand. Depending on the humidity this may occur before or after the amount of flour indicated has been incorporated. Adjust with more or less flour until the consistency is that of a liquid paste.
Cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let the dough sit for one hour.
Once the hour has passed. Place Olive Oil in a heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium to medium-low heat. Do not overheat the oil. Olive Oil has a low burning temperature. To test the temperature, place a small amount of dough in the hot oil. The dough should turn golden within a few minutes. If the dough turns dark brown reduce the heat.
While the oil is heating, core and peel the apples. Cut into slices about ½ to ¾ inch thick. Immerse the apple slices the dough and turn over to coat evenly. Be careful not to break the apple ring. With a fork, place the fritter in the hot oil. You can place 5 or 6 fritters in the oil at one time. Allow them to cook until golden with just a hint of brown. Turn the fritters over and allow sufficient time for the fritters to cook.
Remove from the oil and drain on a metal rack. Just before the next batch is ready move the drained fritters to a plate, sprinkle with powdered sugar or cinnamon or both.
Note: The oil temperature will allow the discerning cook to change the consistency of the treat. With a higher temperature the apple will not soften as much while the dough is cooking and will maintain some of the citrus bite while a lower temperature will cook the apple more caramelizing the natural sugars in the apple making the fritter sweeter.
Tags: Gourmet Foods Italian Diets Desserts Trentino Carnival Italian Holidays Italian Recipes Food and Wine Travel Italy