Italian Carnival Fritters: Fritole from Venice

Frittelle carnevale veneziane

Carnival or Carnevale is a very special time of the year in Italy: it’s celebrated pretty much everywhere with parades, masquerade balls, entertainment, music, and parties. In the occasion of the Carnival, every region has its own sweets but all of them have something in common: they’re fried and they’re called fritters. One of the most famous Carnevale in Italy is the one in Venice, known for its masks and the general atmosphere that attracts people from everywhere.

Among the most famous fritters of Carnival there is the Venetian fritole: typical of the city of Venice fritole are sweet fritters with pine nuts and raisins as ingredients. Traditionally the fritole are not fried in oil but in pork fat and they’re similar to the castagnole and the pizza dough balls.

The history of fritole and the link of this dessert with the city of Venice alone is worth a story, before telling you the recipe: in the XVII century, the fritolieri, or the specialists of these desserts, became so famous as to give life to a real corporation to ensure that the original recipe was maintained and continued to be carried on. Since then the craft of fritoliere has been handed down from generation to generation to maintain a gastronomic tradition that is part of the city of Venice and in fact of the whole Veneto region.

The recipe is really simple and, even if saffron was added in the past, today it is not done anymore.

For coeliacs, it is possible to use both the special flour and the corn flour always following the same method explained below for the classic fritole. Once prepared, these fritters are maintained for good for a couple of days even if the sugar is slowly absorbed by frying.

Ingredients for a bowl

  • 400 grams all purpose flour
  • 100 grams raisins
  • 100 grams pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 glass of milk
  • 1 shot of white rum
  • 30 grams fresh yeast
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • Peanut oil
  • Powdered sugar

Method

  1. Rinse the raisins under the water and soak them in warm water. Heat the milk slightly, without bringing it to a boil.
  2. Crumble the yeast and dilute with 3 tablespoons of warm water.
  3. Sift the flour and mix it with the sugar and a pinch of salt. Incorporate, mixing, eggs, rum, and baking powder with all the water.
  4. Add the milk always stirring and until the batter is not thick enough. Drain the raisins and squeeze it well. Add it to the mixture.
  5. Cover the bowl with a cotton cloth and leave to rise until the dough is doubled, on average 2 hours.
  6. Once the time has passed, heat plenty of oil in a high saucepan and then pour the dough into the spoon.
  7. Leave to brown on all sides turning the pancakes occasionally with a fork. Remove from the heat, drain them by drying the excess oil with some absorbent paper then place them on a tray or on a plate and sprinkle with icing sugar.

Preparation time: about 3 hours

Fritole venezia