Each winter, the last week in February marks the Italian tradition of Carnevale. During the weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday every year in Venice, Italy, the Carnevale festivities are in full swing. Those who celebrate Carnevale dress up as princes, queens and historic figures decked out in jewelry, lavish outfits and spectacular masks with feathers and sparkles.
Though many of the old traditions have faded with time, Italian Americans still celebrate the tradition by cooking popular dishes that are traditionally served during the festival. Popular dishes include lasagna tortellini and other rich dishes. But the fritters, the most popular to many Italian Americans are only made during the Carnevale celebration in Italy.
Follow this simple recipe to make fritters for your family during the Carnevale celebration.
Ricotta Fritters with Chocolate
- 1/2 lb of Ricotta cheese
- 2 cups of all purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 7 tbsp of chocolate chips
- 2.5 oz of candied orange peel, chopped
- 1 tbsp of baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated lemon zest
- pinch of salt
- vegetable oil for frying
- Powdered sugar for dusting
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the ricotta cheese and flour. Next, add the eggs, chocolate chips, chopped orange peel, baking powder, lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Thorouglhy mix together to combine.
In a high sided skillet, put enough oil to fill it to about 1 inch from the top. Heat the oil to 360 degrees (can use candy thermometer or deep fry thermometer). Next, add the batter one tablespoon at a time, placing the batter covered spoon in the oil until the batter falls off the spoon. Make sure you only put about 6 in at a time, pending on the size of the skillet as to not crowd the fritters and cool the oil. Cook each fritter for about 4 minutes or until they are golden brown on all four sides. Finally, remove the fritters from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on paper towel to drain excess oil. Dust the fritters with powdered sugar and serve warm.
If you don't have a sweet tooth, fritters can also be made with artichoke heart, salami, chopped clams, zucchini or almost anything else you like to give it a savory taste.