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Italian Street Food & Fritole (Sweet Apple Fritters)

I finally got around to making these delicious fritole (sweet apple fritters) that I learnt from one of Paola Bacchia's cooking classes attended last August.  Paola known by many through her beautiful blog and Instagram account  Italy On My Mind  runs many cooking classes throughout the year based around learning to make fresh pasta, gnocchi and sweets she learnt from her mamma Livia. In the company of 5 other participants, we enjoyed a fun session learning the art of making Livia's studel di mele (apple strudel), along with these fritole and a few other delights served with a glass of Prosecco or two.    The moment we entered the door the smell of espresso led us in, and a plate of freshly baked ravioli bolognesi (sweet pastry ravioli filled with jam) awaited us. Throughout the session Paola not only demonstrated her recipes and assisted us along the way, but also baked us a focaccia barese for lunch and shared this recipe too.  These cooking classes are fun and hands on and I recommend them to anyone who wants to learn to cook traditional Italian food.

Paola has travelled Italy extensively and just recently returned from her trip to Sicily where she ran a 5 day cooking workshop at the Anna Tasca Lanza Cooking School.  Her recently published cookbook titled Italian Street Food is one to add to your list. This book is filled with beautiful photos of the dynamic Italian street food scene and many of her delicious recipes she has cooked, styled and photographed herself. 

I was fortunate to get a sneak preview of some of her recipes, such as pizza bianca con mortazza, and two of her ice-cream / sorbets recipes - gelato al panettone and sorbetto di susine con amaretto when I put my hand up to do some recipe testing for her.  Since then, I have been waiting patiently for this book to see the rest of the street food Italy has to offer. So now that I have picked up my copy, I will share with you this recipe for fritoleThese delicious sweet apple fritters, are a typical sweet dish from the north-eastern Italian town of Trieste. Fritole (written and pronounced with one 't') as Paola explained to me that their dialect doesn't use double letters,  have the added sultanas soaked in grappa which is another northern Italian tradition. Paola gave us a tip and suggested keeping a jar of these soaked sultanas on hand in the fridge for when you want to use them, and so I did.  I think, the longer they soak, the better! 

Paola Bacchia's Fritole (sweet apple fritters)
This is based on Paola Bacchia's recipe from her book Italian Street Food 
Makes about 15 fritters.

1 egg
60 ml full-cream milk
125 g plain flour 1-2 tablespoons extra flour (if needed)
1 scant tsp baking powder
50 g caster sugar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons sultanas, soaked in grappa/ brandy or water for 15 minutes, or more!
1 tart green apple such as Granny Smith, peeled and cored
zest of 1/2  large orange
zest of 1/2 large lemon
gape seed, peanut or sunflower oil for frying
icing sugar for dusting

Place egg and milk in a small bowl and give it a stir with a fork.  Place the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium sized bowl and give it a quick whisk to combine.  Mix the egg and milk into the flour and stir until it is homogeneous.

Grate the peeled and cored apple with a box grater, then add to the mixture together with the zests and the drained/squeezed sultanas.  The mixture should be thick  but pourable.  Add a bit of extra flour if it is too liquid.

Heat 4-5 cm oil in a heavy-based saucepan (or use a deep-fryer) to 170 C (340 F) or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil sizzles in 5 seconds.  Using two metal tablespoons dipped in hot oil, pick up  a ball of mixture with one spoon, and push into it into the hot oil with the other spoon.  The balls of dough should be as big an apricot.  Don't worry if you get little trails of dough.  Cook 3-4 at a time, depending on the size of your pan for about 4 minutes, until golden brown all over.  Drain on kitchen towel and break a fritola open to check that it has cooked through.  If it isn't, reduce the temperature of your oil slightly and wait a minute or two.

Once the fritole have cooled slightly, dust with icing sugar and serve warm.  Fritole are best eaten on the day they are made.  Enjoy!



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