No matter how loudly nutritionists will speak against deep-fried food, I do allow myself and my children the occasional indulgence. I fiercely stand by my credo that “once in a while” will do you no harm, and, quite frankly, if it makes you happy when you eat it, than it’s got to be good for you! In moderation, that is…
When we were children, my mamma used to apply pretty much the same rule, and her home-cooking was predominantly healthy and very nutritious. So, on special occasions, if we’d been really, really good, she would set off in the kitchen to fry off these delicious, golden nuggets, while we, children and Papà, would patiently wait, slowly inebriated by the savory and warm smell of what was to be our Sunday dinner.
The memory alone is worth the occasional intake of deep-fried food…
These savoury donuts, frittelle, are made using a slowly fermented pizza dough. You can make them using a larger amount of yeast and less rising time, but I have to warn you that they won’t be as light, crispy and easy to digest.
To make the dough, simply follow the same steps as if you were making pizza dough.
Ingredients for the dough
3 1/2 cups 00 type flour (or plain)
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon of dry yeast
1-1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of salt flakes
Extra-virgin olive oil, to grease the bowl and to drizzle on top.
Dissolve yeast and sugar in water. Stand for 5 minutes or until frothy.
Place flour in a large mixing bowl, add the yeasted water and mix for 1-2 minutes, then tip the dough onto a floured surface, add the salt and knead vigorously for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Shape it into a ball.
As all flours tend to differ slightly, you may have to add a little more water of a little more flour in order to have the perfect dough. You want a soft, pliable dough, but not too sticky.
Rest the dough in an oiled bowl, covered with a tea-towel for 30 minutes, then lift it out, place it back onto a floured surface, stretch it with your hands and fold it into three and then back into a ball. Put the dough back in the bowl to rest for another 30 minutes, then stretch and fold again.
As tedious as this process sounds, this is paramount for obtaining a light, crispy and easy to digest base.
After the second stretch-and-fold, place the dough in a large oiled container fitted with lid (like a Tupperware one). Place in the fridge (with the lid on) and slow-prove for a minimum of 6 hours, up to 36 hours.
When you are ready to make you pizza, take the dough out of the fridge and place it in an oiled bowl and cover it with a tea-towel. Rest at room temperature for 30-45 minutes.
Roll the dough onto a floured surface to 1/2 cm (0,2 inches) thick.
Cut the dough into rectangles and score each in the middle to allow even rising when fried.
Fill a deep-fryer or a frying own with vegetable oil and. To test of the oil temperature is ready, drop in a cube of bread: if it sizzles straight away and turns golden in 30 seconds, the oil is ready. Fry the cut dough in 3-4 batches, 2-3 minutes on both sides.
Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt flakes and serve hot with cold cuts of meat, torn mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes or whatever takes your fancy.