Birthday frittelle, Venetian style
ABOVE: Frittelle alla crema on a nautical-themed plate. INSET BELOW: Up close and personal with our daughter's Venetian-style pastries.
by Durant Imboden
A few days ago, our daughter, Cedar Imboden Phillips, cooked me a birthday surprise: a platter of frittelle, the pastries that Venetians enjoy during Venice Carnival. She made the cream-filled version, with frying assistance from her sister-in-law, Erin Phillips Lauinger, and a Frittelle alla crema recipe from Cookinvenice.com. (Cook in Venice is owned by two women on the Venetian mainland who offer cooking classes as well as a "Food and Ghost Tour" in Venice.)
The frittelle were delightful, and our daughter offered a practical tip: When making frittelle alla crema, pipe the filling into the pastries immediately before eating. This way, if you aren't planning to devour the entire batch in one sitting, you can store the pastry cream in the refrigerator while keeping the unfilled frittelle at room temperature to minimize sogginess.
Note: Frittelle recipes vary quite a bit. Many pastry cooks dust frittelle with confectioners' sugar, others use granulated sugar, and some leave the pastries unadorned. Frittelle fanciers have also been known to debate ferociously about whether pine nuts should be used in filled frittelle (as opposed to frittelle veneziane, which are solid). As for me, I'll take frittelle however and whenever I can get them--even in the hot month of July.
You lucky person. We love fritelle but, as you remark, they are only available during carnival. It's good to have seasonal foods - something to look forward to. Here in UK we can get pretty much anything year round. Strawberries were once a summer treat but they are imported from all over the place now. English strawberries and Scottish raspberries are still the tastiest though!
Posted by: Andrew Hall | 07/11/2011 at 11:38 AM
So glad you liked our recipe! it is one of our favourite too! Hope to see you in Venice one day!
Posted by: monica cesarato | 11/30/2011 at 03:21 PM
This post is making my mouth water! As a major foodie, one of my favorite memories from Italy was taking a food tour with my husband.. We toured with this small group called Food Tours of Italy. It was intimate (under 15 people in each tour group), fun and we got to try so much great food (including fritelle!!). I can't wait to go back again someday soon, if not just for the fritelle, haha :)
Posted by: Karly | 03/15/2015 at 07:44 PM