Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ricotta Beignets?

The past couple of days, I have been watching a ton of No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain via Netflix on our annoyingly spotty free internet connection. Two episodes have been making me jones cannoli like nobody's business, the one on New Jersey and the one on Sicily, where 1/4 of my roots come from. (Cannoli, by the way, are 100% Sicilian, originating in Palermo, Sicily's capital.)

I have never made cannoli from scratch, and I don't really plan on starting now. I did have some leftover ricotta in the fridge from when Greg and I made that baked penne dish, so I looked up what other Sicilian dessert I could make without running to the store.

Technically, the answer is non
e, but I found something close, ricotta fritters. All I was lacking was the zest, and though I am sure that is a key ingredient, I had no choice but to leave it out.

Here is the recipe that I followed because it was the first one I found with requirements small enough for my meager stores. I actually followed the instruction that tells me to prepare the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients in two separate bowls, though I did not heat up the oil in the skillet (not as much as was called for) until the dough was prepared and I was ready to actually fry everything.
I never really understood how ricotta, a cheese, could be made into a dessert, despite all the cannoli I woofed down in Italy, until I whipped it together with eggs and sugar. As I see it, ricotta is less a cheese than a thick, almost chunky cream. It's even sweet like cream. Perhaps to the discerning tongue, the ricotta can be tasted in the resulting dish, but not to me. It was just tasty.

Anyway. I don't own anything fancy like a thermometer, so I had to guess on where to set my burner for the oil. I guessed wrong. The first batch almost instantly burned and set off the smoke alarm, which, thankfully, only beeped a few times before giving up. (Perhaps because I had the window already open to the warm spring weather.) I turned the burner down a few notches and kept a closer eye on the little puffs of sweet, creamy dough.

Though the process is virtually identical to when I make beignets or gluten free paczki, the ricotta fritters puffed up much more than the previous two ever have for me, bobbing around quite contentedly in the hot canola oil. Flipping them took a few tries to get right, but none of them fell apart or burned after that first batch. When they looked done, I fished them out and plopped them onto a plate covered in a couple layers of paper towel. 

Since I haven't actually found a picture of ricotta fritters on the internet, I don't know what they are supposed to look like. Since they were so much like beignets, and I was instructed by the recipe to dust the fritters in powdered sugar, I decided to fill a bowl with powdered sugar and completely coat the little guys, just like I do with beignets. 

And let me tell you, they were delicious. I don't know if it was because I didn't actually measure out the ricotta to make sure all was in proportion or not, but the fritters did seem to have a rather eggy flavor, sort of like French toast. They were very poofy, thicker than beignets, and satisfying to sink my teeth into. They were also a very quick and easy to make snack! 

It was suggested by some web pages that ricotta fritters are often enjoyed at the Sicilian equivalent of tea time (which I didn't even know they had), so I made a cup of chai latte with the very last bits of powder I had left in my cupboard. That may have been too much sugar between the chai and the fritters, so my tummy is not terribly happy with me, but I'll live.

In the future, I would like to try my hand at making cannoli. In the short term, though, I find these fritters to be a perfectly acceptable use of ricotta in dessert form.

No comments:

Post a Comment