In Italy, on this period of the year, we do celebrate Carnival, a crazy festivity which looks a bit like Halloween with the only difference that Carnival lasts days! Children wear funny and colourful costumes and masks, people gather outside to attend stunning parades with floats both representing cartoon characters and satirical giant-sized mock-ups of polititians.
On Carnival we stick to a traditional and reliable sweet treats’ menu too and this recipe is on it!
“Frittelle alla crema”, as we say here in Italy, are made of a lemon batter, enriched by sultanas, which is fried and filled with a lot of vanilla crème pâtissière, a thick and creamy custard. It’s hard for me to find a proper translation in English but I can tell you that they look like fried cream puffs.
If you’ve never neither tasted frittelle nor been to Venice’s Carnival, I suggest you to try them because they’re scrumtious and I bet you’ll fall in love with this recipe!
FOR ABOUT 40 SMALL FRITTELLE:
For the batter:
- 250 ml water;
- 50 g butter;
- a pinch of salt;
- 150 g plain flour;
- 50 g corn or potato starch;
- zest of one organic lemon;
- 50 g caster sugar;
- 5- 6 large free-range eggs;
- 8 g baking powder ( about a tbsp);
- 100 g sultanas;
- 1/2 a cup of rhum or marsala wine for soaking;
- sunflower oil for frying;
- icing sugar to decorate.
For the crème pâtissière:
- 1 litre milk;
- 8 egg yolks;
- 45 g plain flour (about 2 tbsp);
- 45 g corn starch (about 2 tbsp);
- 175 g caster sugar;
- 1 vanilla pod.
FOR THE PASTRY CREAM:
Pour the milk in a large saucepan, add the vanilla seeds and the vanilla pod as well and warm the milk on a medium heat just until a gentle simmer.
Meanwhile whisk the yolks with sugar until pale yellow and creamy, then whisk in the sifted corn starch and plain flour. Gradually pour the hot milk into the yolk’s mixture, stirring countinuosly to prevent scrambled eggs.
Transfer it back into the saucepan and cook over medium low-heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens. Once it has a smooth and silky texture, transfer the pastry cream into a heatproof bowl, remove the vanilla pod, sprinkle with some caster sugar and press a piece of cling film directly onto the surface of the creme pat. Let it cool at room temperature, then transfer it into a piping bag, fitted with a medium round nozzle and set aside in the fridge.
FOR THE BATTER:
In a large pan combine water, butter and a pinch of salt and bring it to the boil over a high heat. Once boiling, remove from the heat and stir in, all in one go, your flour and potato starch, previously sifted to prevent any lumps and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough is formed. Return to the heat and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan. Transfer into a clean bowl and let it cool down for 5 minutes.
Now add sugar, zest of the lemon and the eggs, one at a time ( you must be sure the previous egg has been completely absorbed before adding the next one) and continue stirring until the mixture is glossy and has a soft dropping consistency ( the number of eggs vary according to the consistency you get: if you have small eggs use 6, if you have large eggs use just 5 of them).
Add the baking powder just when the batter has cooled down completely and stir in also sultanas, previously soaked in rhum for half an hour.
Scoop the batter with two teaspoons and fry your frittelle in plentiful boiling sunflower oil, which must reach and keep a steady temperature of 175-180°C throughout the frying (make them small because they’ll swell a lot!). When they’ll be golden- brown( as you can see in the pictures) carefully pull them off and drain them on some kitchen paper.
Make a hole on each one, fill your frittelle with a generous amount of crème pâtissière and dust with a lot of icing sugar. I’m sure you’re gonna love them, as much as I do!
I hope you liked this recipe and if you did, don’t forget to follow me on my Facebook page and on my Instagram account (@gloriaturetta19) !:) Bye!!