Little doughnuts

Little doughnuts

Fritule

By
From
Dalmatia

I associate this small doughnut-like sweet with some of my most joyful memories, as it is a Croatian festive food. Every celebration in Mediterranean Croatia starts with fritule, dried figs and rakija (grape brandy). One of my most profound memories is the smell of fritule on Christmas Day and my grandmother standing at the stove. For me, fritule represent pure joy – an essential ingredient and part of our culture. There are many recipe variations for this sweet and they are passed down through the generations. Every village and town in Dalmatia and Istria has its own recipe, which they claim is the original and the best. This one is made with potatoes and works really well. Serve fritule with dried figs and a fruit brandy, such as rakija or travarica, at the start of a celebration, as they are more of a welcoming sweet dish than a dessert.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
500g waxy potatoes, such as desiree, sebago or nicola
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1cm vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
50ml dark rum
40g caster sugar, plus extra for rolling
2 eggs, whisked
200g plain flour
5g instant yeast
50g sultanas, soaked in 50 ml dark rum for 30 minutes
1 teaspoon grappa
oil for deep-frying, canola or cottonseed

Method

  1. Place the potatoes in a saucepan. Cover with cold water and bring to the boil over high heat. Cook for 20–25 minutes or until just tender when tested with a skewer (don’t test too often or the potatoes will become waterlogged). Drain well and set aside until just cool enough to handle. While still hot, peel and discard the skins.
  2. Using a potato ricer, purée the potatoes into a bowl. While they are still warm, add the lemon and orange zest, nutmeg, vanilla seeds, rum, sugar and whisked eggs. Mix in the flour and yeast, then add the sultanas soaked in rum and the grappa. Mix everything together and add a little water. Stir until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Set aside to stand for 1 hour.
  3. Heat the oil in a deep-fryer or deep frying pan until it reaches 180°C, or when a cube of bread dropped into the oil browns in 10 seconds. Scoop up about a thumb-sized piece of the dough, and squeeze and shape it into a small ball. Dip a teaspoon into cold oil to stop the dough from sticking, then use the teaspoon to pick up a ball of dough and drop it into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3–5 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough balls. Remove the fritule from the fryer and drain on paper towel. Roll in caster sugar and serve.
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