Marlena de Blasi, from whose book I adapted this recipe, describes standing on winter mornings in Lucania waiting for the shops and street stalls to open just to buy these little fritelle di ricotta e rhum. With these warm fritters at hand, I can quite imagine that a winter morning in southern Italy must be just as much a treat as a spring morning here in Canada.
Rum and ricotta frittersThis is my contribution to the next Waiter, there's something in my .. event. The theme this month is breakfast.
18 ounces whole milk ricotta
5 eggs, separated
1/4 cup dark rum
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 scant teaspoons baking powder
peanut oil for cooking
In a large bowl, beat the ricotta with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Lightly beat the egg yolks in a small bowl and stir in to the ricotta along with the rum, vanilla and maple syrup. Sift together the flour and baking powder and turn into the ricotta mixture.
In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a hand mixer until the peaks are stiff but not dry. Fold gently and thoroughly into the batter.
Heat 3-4 inches of peanut oil in a medium saucepan over just a little higher than medium heat. When hot, but not smoking, form the fritters by dropping scant dessert spoons of the batter into the oil. Cook until golden brown, turning and cooking on each side, about five minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Serve warm with maple syrup or warm spiced chocolate sauce for dipping, or dusted with icing sugar, with a pot of good hot coffee on the side. Makes about three dozen fritters.