Carnival isn’t carnival without these traditional delicacies: frittelle. Whether they are filled with cream (remember our infallible recipe for making them at home?) or more “light” – although I realise that defining anything fried as “light” is a bit of an oxymoron – like the Carnival frittelle with apple and Ricotta cheese that we’re going to tell you about today. Well, it’s of little importance, what is important is their unique deliciousness, a perfect combination of lightness and delicate aroma which will bring a smile of contentment to your face at the first bite.
Carnival: Do you know the origins of this popular and beloved festival?
The origins of Carnival date back to ancient times, it seems even to the Greek Dionysian celebrations and Roman Saturnals. What took place was a temporary release from social obligations and hierarchies in honour of the God Dionysus (Bacchus for the Romans) making way for the overthrow of order, jest and debauchery. It was for this reason that masks were used, to abandon oneself to sensory pleasures without being “recognized”. The aim was propitiatory: to secure the blessings of the gods for a fruitful beginning of the agricultural year.
Later, in the Middle Ages, under the name of “fasnachat“, Carnival took the form of a festival of madness. The highlight was the depiction of a trial of a puppet, whose death represented the scapegoat for the wickedness of the past year and a good omen for the new. In short, a way to say goodbye to the winter by welcoming the spring, bearer of fertility and fruitfulness.
The festivities of the Middle Ages, however, were soon scaled down by the Church as they were not viewed in a favourable light. The term that identified them was given a Catholic twist with the use of the Latin phrase “carne levamen” – i.e. to remove the meat, referring to the period before Lent in which the consumption of meat is not allowed.
Carnival thus began to lose its character as a popular festivity to be relegated to the courts of the nobles where companies of masked actors represented the vices and virtues of humanity, with the purpose of admonition and catharsis. At this point we see the appearance of the Neapolitan Pulcinella as a symbol of the impertinent and lazy character, Pantalone – a stingy and lustful Venetian merchant, and then the famous Harlequin, a lazy and cunning servant from Bergamo.
Carnival is not only an Italian tradition but it is celebrated, with the characteristics and differences of each culture, in various parts of the world with parades of floats, fancy dress parties and celebrations of ceremonial rites with an ancestral flavour. In Italy it ends on Shrove Tuesday, which precedes “Ash Wednesday” (the first day of Lent). Luckily for us these customs do not only involve masquerade, there are also countless dishes – especially sweet treats – essential to experience this moment of joy to the fullest. And who are we to refrain from honouring tradition?
It is also true that what with work, our usual routines and countless daily tasks it’s hard to find the time to prepare our traditional Carnival treats – chiacchere, bugie, frittelle & co. And it is precisely for this reason that we thought we would tell you about the infallible recipe of these apple and Ricotta cheese Carnival frittelle. Unlike other recipes, this one is really simple and fast!
It will be child’s play – good hearty and satisfying fun – preparing them together with the younger members of the family. And maybe then to savour them – given the season – in front of a warm fire, between a cheerful nursery rhyme and the popping of a streamer or two.
Easy Carnival frittelle with apple and Ricotta cheese – the recipe
INGREDIENTS (for 20 frittelle)
- 2 green apples
- A few drops of lemon
- 250 gr of Ricotta cheese well strained
- 2 whole eggs
- 60gr icing sugar
- a pinch of salt
- a teaspoon of rum flavouring
- the zest of one grated lemon
- 1 sachet of vanilla flavouring
- 150gr type 00 flour
- 10gr of baking powder
- Peanut oil for frying as desired
- Caster sugar for sprinkling as desired
- Peel the apples and remove the core. With a bit of patience cut them into cubes of about half a centimetre – trust me, it will make all the difference. Add a few drops of lemon and stir.
- Strain the Ricotta cheese into a large bowl.
- Separately, lightly whip the eggs with the icing sugar and salt. Then add the lemon zest, rum and vanillin flavouring.
- Then add the eggs to the strained Ricotta cheese and mix well to obtain a cream.
- Now incorporate the flour and baking powder, mixing briefly.
- It is time to add the apple cubes; mix everything to obtain an even consistency.
- With the help of two teaspoons make even sized balls (as you would for quenelles) and fry them a few at a time in boiling oil. Be careful not to let the oil get too hot, the frittelle should fry gently so that they are well cooked on the inside and perfectly golden on the outside.
- Drain off the excess oil by placing them on absorbent paper and, once they have cooled, roll them in caster sugar. Enjoy your snack!
Image credits: Sara Cartelli