Le Veneziane: How To Make Venetian Frittelles At Home

In the last few years, frittelles have taken the culinary stage of Carnival in Venice, and there’s a good reason why they were so successful 🙂 After all, le fritoe, as frittelles are called in Venetian, have been the Venetian National Sweet ever since the 13th century.

But then, frittelles, prepared in the Venetian manner, taste great and soft and so warming on a humid Venetian winter day. So last weekend, we sorted through our family recipe journals and the books in our library. There’s an incredible variety of frittelles and other pastries eaten during Carnival in Venice, and the good news is, you can still eat them today at some pastry stores and cafes in town. Read more in our article dedicated to the story of the Venetian Carnival cakes.

Every family in Venice have their own recipe for fritoa, and now we are sharing ours with you. Hope you’ll enjoy it! Do try it, frittelles can be prepared in less than 90 minutes and that means, they qualify for breakfast !

LE VENEZIANE – VENETIAN FRITTELLES

AN EASY RECIPE WHICH YOU WILL BE ABLE TO PREPARE IN UNDER 90 MINUTES !

INGREDIENTS

180 gr flour (universal type), 8 gr yeast, 1/16 liter of milk, 1 egg, 3 spoonfuls of grappa, vanilla sugar, 10 gr butter, a pinch of salt, 5 spoonfuls of granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder.

INSTRUCTIONS

In a bowl, carefully work the yeast and one spoonful granulated sugar into the warm milk. Add flour, grappa, vanilla sugar, butter and a hint of salt. Mix well and cover the bowl with a towel. Leave in a warm place until the the dough has doubled in size (it takes approximately one hour). With a spoon, form little heaps of dough and fry them in sun flower oil. Coat your fritole with a mixture of granulated sugar and cinnamon powder.

NOTES

Like in the cover picture, you could prepare ricotta all’acqua di rose – rose-flavored ricotta, to add an exotic flavor to your frittelles. And that’s no invention of ours – that was the original crema with which the frittelles were filled.

PS – My article, originally published on the Liquid Press, tells more about the history of Venetian sweet pastries. Click here to read it.

Download ten healthy cooking tips from Venice !

Roses and Spices_Preview

La Pinsa Venexiana – The Original Venetian Christmas Cake

When Grandmother was young – she grew up in the northern Lagoon – this was the cake her mother prepared on 24 December, but also on the morning of Epiphany Day – January 6. So to celebrate L’EPIFANIA, and LA BEFANA, of course, we are sharing this family recipe today.

This is substantial food, so badly needed when the nights are long in late December and in January. It’s a cake that was prepared early in the morning when it was still dark. Just like it is in the pictures in this blog post.  Read More

Pan del Doge al Pistacchio – Taste & Bake the Doge’s Autumn Cake

 

The Doges of Venice seemed to love dishes with a green touch. Even their signature dish, risi e bisi, which the Doge’s family and their entourage ate on 25 April, was green.  Risi e bisi is a rather liquid risotto (all’onda) in which the baccelli (pods) of the bisi (green peas) were cooked with the peas and rice. The Doges, just like Venetians in general, have always loved green sauces, le salse verdi. And in autumn, in particular during late October and early November, elaborate pistachio cakes were created for them and their guests.

In winter, Venetian cakes, or pan dolse (sweet breads) as they were called in the past, would be flavored with lemon or orange juice. In autumn, pomegranates and pistachios were used to flavor and color cakes. Colorful food, tinted naturally, was an essential ingredient to create a cuisine that Venice was proud of. And in spring, pink syrup made from rose petals and spices was used to flavor cakes.

Autumn is the season of almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts and pistachios in Italy, and Venice is no exception. Mele cotogne (quinces) and melograni (pomegranates) were essential ingredients in former times and still are here in Venice. Not just for cakes …

Combining these ingredients with spices when baking a cake means you will get something typical Venetian on your table. Just like in the past, the Rialto Market is still the hub where you can load up on fine produce, herbs and spices. There is also pistachio liquor and crema di pistachio, the delicious sweet pistachio cream made from Sicilian pistachios (i pistacchi di Bronte).

When you look at the vetrina (store window) of pastry stores in Venice, you often find the so-called Doge’s Cake – Pan del Doge. I can definitely say that the names cakes are given in Venice aren’t inventions of creative patissiers. On the contrary, based on family recipes and ancient recipe booklets available at the Venetian State Archive and at Biblioteca Marciana, the cakes we bake today are VERY similar to those of the past.

Which are the ingredients of pan di pistacchio? It’s rather easy to prepare, made from same dough you would use to make zaleti cookies. Substitute one third of the flour with farina di pistachio (ground pistachios), add 3 tablespoons crema di pistacchio to make the dough more soft and perhaps 2-3 tablespoons pistachio liquor.

If you are in Venice, look out for pistachio bread in Strada Nova. Pasticceria Giovanni Pitteri is an expert in making delicious pistachio cakes and zaleti, like the ones you can see in the cover page of this post. I also love the pistachio heart-shaped cookies, cuoricini al pistacchio which I discovered at Pasticceria Marchini Time. In addition to cakes and cookies, you also find torroncini and praline al pistacchio, pistachio-flavored sweet balls in Venice, enhanced with chocolate drops.

And there are the zaleti al pistacchio. Zaleti are the famous Venetian “yellow” cookies enhanced with chocolate drops and grappa-flavored raisins. Sometimes, part of the maize flour they are made from is substituted with pistachio flour and pistachio cream.

Click here to download Nonna Lina’s recipe for zaleti, including the variant zaleti al pistachio – pistachio-flavored zaleti.

You can buy the ingredients to make pan pistacchio and all the other cookies, like farina di mandorle (almond flour) and crema di pistacchio di Bronte at Drogheria Mascari, my favorite gourmet store. I discovered the torroncini al pistacchio at Pasticceria Dolce Vita at the Rialto Market.

Il Malibran – A forgotten recipe for panna cotta, Venetian style

You probably wouldn’t connect the Venetian operahouse Teatro Maliran with food … but there’s actually a recipe named after it. Maybe it’s even the original recipe of the all-Italian panna cotta. Panna cotta is Italian for crème brulée. Teatro Malibran is located just beyond the sotopórtego you can see in the picture below. Read More