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Croatian Fritule

Ingredients:

  • 2 packets (6 tsp.) dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 cup plus a pinch granulated sugar
  • 7 cups all-purpose flour (Montana Saphire preferred by the best Croatian bakers in Cleveland!)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1/2 cup plum brandy (Slivovitz) or brandy of choice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup raisins
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 6 to 7 cups cooking oil for frying
  • Powdered sugar

Instructions:

  • Mix the yeast with the warm water and a pinch of sugar and set aside until risen and foamy.
  • Place the flour in large bowl, forming a well.
  • Add the hot water gradually and blend with a wooden spoon.
  • Keep stirring until the dough begins to form a ball.
  • Continue beating as you gradually add the 1 cup sugar, brandy, vanilla, nutmeg, raisins and lemon rind.
  • Blend in the yeast mixture and then let the batter rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile heat the cooking oil in a deep pot or fryer (the oil should be at least 6 cm / 2 1/2" deep).
  • When the oil is hot enough (test by dropping in a small piece of the batter, which should sizzle, but not burn), drop in the batter by well-rounded 1/2 tablespoon measures.
  • You will have to dip the measuring spoon in water between spoonfuls of batter to clean it off.
  • You may also have to coax the batter off the spoon.
  • Do not overcrowd the frying pot.
  • Ensure the fritters are turned so that all sides are golden.
  • When browned, transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels, let cool slightly, then roll in powdered sugar.
  • Arrange on a serving platter. .

NOTE: These are like little doughnuts. At Christmas time you'll find a plate of fritule in every Croatian household, even the most modest. Grownups and children alike can't get enough of them!

There are several versions of fritule. On the Solin, the recipe did not include rakija (brandy) or lemon. It was so cold that the rakija was kept for drinking, and the cook saved the lemons for fish!

The cooking time is very short, but be sure the doughnuts are nicely browned before removing them from the hot oil, otherwise they'll take on strange shapes. It's advisable to fry just a few balls of batter at a time, shaped with two dessert spoons - too many and they may stick together.

From Robert Jerin of the Croatian Heritage Museum




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