Corsican Chestnut Fritelli

Fritelli is a Corsican doughnut or fritter made from fried chestnut flour. A preparation of the fritters is referred to as Fritelli a Gaju Frescu with fresh cheese or Fritelli di Salciccia with sausage.

According to an 1880 Scribners monthly account, the chestnuts were collected from those that had fallen (and beating the trees to knock them down was discouraged). The nuts were then taken to huts and placed 15 cm deep in trays where they were slow cooked with green wood fires until hard and dry. In this state they could be kept for years and were milled into flour “like corn or wheat”, which was then made into fritelli or other dishes such as “pulenta” (polenta), necci, pattoni, castagnacci, and cialdi.

Corsican Chestnut Fritelli

Servings: 20
Author: The Cook

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • cups warm milk , 45°C
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • cups plain flour (all-purpose flour)
  • 2 cups chestnut flour
  • pinch salt
  • oil, for frying
  • 1 cup honey
  • icing sugar (powdered sugar), for garnish, optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the fryer to 180°C.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook, add the yeast, sugar, shortening, and milk, mix for 2 minutes. Add the egg. Mix well. Add 2 cups of the flour, the chestnut flour and salt. Beat at low speed until all of the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. Then beat at medium speed until the mixture forms a ball, leaves the sides of the bowl, and climbs up the dough hook. Remove the dough from the bowl.
  • Using your hands, form the dough into a smooth ball. Lightly oil a bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat the dough into a rectangle about 2½ cm thick. Lightly dust the surface of the dough. Roll out the rectangle to 30 cm long by 25 cm wide and about 6 mm thick. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 20 (6 cm) square beignets. Fry the beignets, a couple at a time until golden brown and crispy on all sides, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Remove and drain on paper towels. Drizzle with honey or sprinkle with icing sugar. Serve warm.
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