Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fritelle di Mele for Festa di Sant'Antonio

Yesterday was Festa di Sant'Antonio. For Fabrizio it meant childhood memories of going to mass where the local priest gave his homily on blessing the beasts of burden. It seems to have now evolved into a general day of bleesing of all of the family animals or pets as well. At the end of this annual mass there was always a slice of some sort of sweet bread for everyone. That was and still is Fabrizio's favorite part of the mass. His parents went over to Grandubbione, which is the hamlet at the end of our road, for this special mass in our charming little church. They stayed afterwards and enjoyed their annual leisurely luncheon at our friends "baita". When they arrived back home late in the afternoon, Egle arrived with a chunk of the blessed sweet bread that she had tucked away for us, as she does every year.

Looking around the web, I found all sorts of Sant"Antonio festivals with a variety of customs and variations. It seems with many ancient feast and holy days there tends to be a blending and bending of the original festival. There seemed to be a fair amount of mixing it up with carnival as well, so I thought a finale of apple fritters would make a fitting dessert for the day. Fabrizio found that was his favorite part of the day too, the Fritelle di Mele.

The traditional local recipe for this treat is simple and tasty, if perhaps on the plain side, so I tried Mario Batali's recipe.
I found it traditional, light and not greasy when cooked. My batter only covered 4 apples. I did a little tweaking as I wanted just a bit more zip than how they are made here. I reccomend adding vanilla or orange or lemon zest to make the flavors pop out more.
Fritelle di Mele
Ingredients:

6 green apples, peeled and cored
oil for frying

2 large eggs
4 tablespoons milk
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons sugar
Orange or Lemon zest from 1/2-1 whole fruit.
2- 4 tablespoons orange liqeuer, amaretto, vanilla or a combination
Powdered sugar to dust


Directions

Slice apples into slightly less than 1/2-inch thick rounds and set aside.
Heat oil to 375 F. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Slowly
add flour to the mixture, 3 tablespoons at a time, until all is incorporated. Stir
in sugar and kirsch. Allow to stand 10 minutes. Dip each slice into batter and
toss into hot oil, 3 or 4 at a time. Cook until golden brown, remove to plate
lined with paper towels and drain. Continue until all are done.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar if you like and serve warm.
Here they are eaten plain, but they would go well with ice cream or a drizzle of maple syrup

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