What’s better than ricotta cheese? You guessed it … fried ricotta cheese!
I’ll be honest, I had no idea how these were going to turn out. The anticipation reminded me of the time I made homemade funnel cakes for a county fair-themed luncheon at work (totally my idea).
Did you know that funnel cakes are made by dripping batter through a funnel in a swirling motion? Because I didn’t. Guess that’s where the name comes from, eh? *slaps forehead*
Anyway. Ricotta fritters — a recipe I had never heard of before delving into all-Italian-food-all-of-the-time mode — are kind of like a cross between a sweet funnel cake and a mozzarella stick.
But in a good way. A delicious way.
What you’ll need:
- 1/2 pound of fresh ricotta
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter, softened to room temperature
- the peel of 1 lemon grated without digging into the white part beneath (more details below)
- vegetable oil
- honey of a runny consistency
- confectioner’s sugar (optional)
1) Put the ricotta in a bowl and crumble it using a fork.
2) Break the eggs into the bowl and mix them with the ricotta.
3) Add the flour a little at a time, working it into the ricotta and egg mixture with two forks (held in one hand) or a with a spatula.
[Word to the wise: In prepping the lemon peel (I used a potato peeler), make sure you chop up any larger peeled flakes into tiny, minuscule pieces. If you don’t, you’ll take a bite of a fritter and BAM … super duper lemony. However, as my future sis-in-law suggests, a grater might be better in the future for zesting (separating the yellow part of the peel) than a potato peeler.]
4) Add the butter, lemon peel, and a tiny pinch of salt, swirling them into the mixture and beating until all ingredients of the fritter batter are evenly combined.
5) Set the batter aside and allow it to rest for at least 2 hours, but no more than 3 1/2 hours. [Now, the recipe doesn’t say “refrigerate,” so I just left it on the counter with cling wrap on top of the bowl for 2 hours.]
6) Pour enough oil into a frying pan to come 1/2 inch up its sides, and turn on the heat to medium high. When the oil is quite hot — if a driblet of batter dropped in floats instantly to the surface, it’s ready — put in the batter, a tablespoonful at a time. Push the batter of the spoon using the rounded corner of a spatula for easy release. Do not put in any more at one time than will fit loosely, without crowding the pan.
7) When the fritters have become colored a golden brown on one side, turn them. If they are not puffing slightly into little balls, the heat is too high. Turn it down a little. When the fritters are brown on both sides, transfer them with a slotted spoon or spatula to a cooling rack to drain. If there is batter leftover, repeat the procedure until it is all used.
8) Place the fritters on a serving platter, dribble honey liberally all over all of them. [Optional: sprinkle with a little bit of confectioner’s sugar on top for garnish.] They are best perhaps while still hot, but they are very good even when lukewarm or at room temperature.
For slightly different version of this Italian classic, check out Italian Food Forever’s ricotta fritters.
[Source: Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan, p. 602-603]