Sometimes even I surprise myself. Another dreary winter’s afternoon. Yet again my rather peckish household was on the hunt for something sweet to eat with a hot drink. Of course, like a plague of locusts they’d already stripped my cupboards of all but the barest staple pantry ingredients. This is where the magic and age old wisdom of my collection of Italian nonna recipes come to the fore. I put together this plate of light and lovely lemon scented ricotta fritters together in less than 30 minutes, including foraging time as I contemplated the contents of my rather limited pantry.
There’s a lot to be said about the beauty of simple, old fashioned recipes that have been handed down from generation to generation. By word of mouth and later pen to paper. Translated and invariably updated they use the most basic of ingredients and techniques to produce something truly special. There was a huge sense of satisfaction in bringing these to the table. So light, fluffy and lovely, yet so simple to make. I served them simply dusted with icing sugar but they would be awesome with lemon curd, rhubarb and strawberry compote or a salted caramel sauce.
Trouble sourcing gorgeously fresh ricotta? Like a good Italian nonna you could try making your own – it is deceptively easy and takes no more than 2o minutes. Here’s the link for a tried and true recipe for home-made ricotta previously posted to the blog I love the light creaminess of ricotta and always have a tub in my fridge. It’s the secret ingredient that adds a gorgeous depth of flavour and beautiful fluffiness to these fritters.
I managed to shield these fluffy morsels from the circling seagulls just long enough to take the requisite photo. You should also know that whole plateful disappeared before I had time to boil the kettle for a cup of tea.
Lemon Scented Ricotta Fritters
Makes about 2 dozen
3/4 cup self raising flour
4 tablespoons caster sugar
finely grated zest of one lemon
generous pinch of salt
1 cup whole milk ricotta
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
icing sugar, for dusting
4 cups canola or any unflavoured vegetable oil, for frying
STIR together flour, sugar, lemon zest and salt in a large mixing bowl until well combined.
WHISK together ricotta, eggs and vanilla extract in another bowl until fluffy and smooth.
ADD wet ingredients to dry, beat together with a wooden spoon to combine. Batter should be of a soft dropping consistency. Set aside for 10 minutes to rest.
To Fry The Fritters
POUR oil into a medium sized heavy saucepan and heat to 180 C.If you don’t have a thermometer, test the temperature with a small cube of bread. When dropped in the oil it should turn golden brown in about a minute. Once the oil reaches the correct temperature, reduce the heat to medium low, to avoid burning the fritters as the temperature of the oil will continue to rise.
CAREFULLY drop rounded teaspoonfuls of the batter into the oil in batches, no more than 4 or 5 at a time to avoid overcrowding the pan. The fritters will puff up and double in size.
FRY, turning once or twice, until puffed and golden brown on all sides, about 3 or 4 minutes per batch. Adjust heat as necessary as you cook – if the oil is too hot the fritters will brown too quickly on the outside but remain raw on the inside. Bring the oil back to 180 C before starting each new batch.
REMOVE fritters from oil with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels before dusting with icing sugar. Serve hot.