Fritule

According to Wikipedia, fritule are “a festive Croatian pastry made particularly for Christmas. They resemble little doughnuts… Venetian frìtole… they are usually flavored with rum and citrus zest, containing raisins, and are topped with powdered sugar.”

For me they’re also a whole lot more. They were one of my favourite sweet treats growing up, and were usually made by my grandmother. I STILL can’t see fritule to this day without being reminded of sitting at her formica table wolfing down endless amounts of her delicious fritule, and she was utmost in my mind as I set out to recreate the fritule of my childhood. There are lots of hacks online with yoghurt and even potatoes {???}, but I’ve kept it simple and traditional. I wasn’t sure if she used any liqueur or alcohol but I went with the citrus peel and soaked the raisins in some Cointreau, and I have to say it works: these fritule are spot on. Some people hate raisins and leave them out, but for me fritule MUST have raisins or sultanas or they’re just not legit.

They’re not difficult to make, it’s basically a dough which is left to prove before you deep fry spoonfuls of it. {I did swap the spoon for a large piping bag though, which I found was an easier way to get them looking a bit prettier and more like little donut balls than large misshapen chunks. You don’t need to use a piping tip, just make sure the opening at the bottom is big enough.} It helps if you’ve made dough before or seen fritule made, just so you can visually gauge when you’ve added enough milk and the texture of the dough looks right before you leave it to rest.

The quantities below will give you A LOT of fritule, especially if you opt for smaller sized donuts as you fry. You can easily halve the amounts listed.*

what you need

  • 100g raisins
  • 100ml Cointreau or citrus flavoured liqueur
  • 50g fresh yeast
  • 200ml full cream milk
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1kg plain flour
  • 2 x 10g sachets of vanilla sugar
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 3 eggs {*2 eggs if halving quantities}
  • zest of one large lemon
  • zest of one large orange
  • approximately 500ml to 700ml full cream milk
  • oil for deep frying, sunflower is best
  • 1 cup caster sugar for dusting
  • optional: 1 tsp ground cinnamon

what to do

  • In a small glass jug or bowl combine the raisins and Cointreau. In another glass jug or bowl mix the yeast, 200ml milk, and caster sugar until it’s well combined and the yeast has blended in with the milk. Set aside until the yeast has bubbled and frothed up, it should only take about five to ten minutes.
  • In a large mixing bowl {a very large if you have it will make it easier to mix your dough}, add the flour, vanilla sugar, 100ml sunflower oil, eggs, zests, Cointreau soaked raisins, and the yeast mixture, and begin to mix through. Start adding the milk a bit at a time and keep mixing through with a wooden spoon, until you have a fairly dense batter mix that slowly blobs off the spoon. You might not need all the milk, and if it ends up looking too runny feel free to add a bit more flour back in. It should be springy and elastic-y if that makes sense. Beat it fairly well with the wooden spoon for a minute to work the glutens, then cover with clingfilm and a dry cloth and set aside for at least thirty minutes. It should double in size and rise, then it’s ready to cook.

  • Heat enough oil for deep frying in a large saucepan or casserole style pot, to a high heat. When the oil is ready start dropping spoonfuls of batter into the oil, or pipe in small amounts. The batter will puff up when it hits the oil, and to make it easier on myself I squeezed the dough out of the piping bag then just scraped it against the rim of the saucepan to break it off. Watch the heat doesn’t get too hot that the fritule get too dark too quickly, it should take about five minutes per batch, gently flip them over to cook both sides, and once they’re all a lovely golden bronze scoop them out and leave on some paper towel while you fry the rest.
  • Once they’re all cooked put the cup of caster sugar in a large bowl, add the cinnamon if you like, and toss the fritule in the sugar until they’re coated. They keep fairly well, and don’t need to be refrigerated. Enjoy.

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