Tuesday, August 15, 2006

It's my party and I'll fry if I want to

Ricotta Puffs

I’ve never been much of a fryer. Frankly the idea of being in the presence of oil, hot enough to scald your skin right off is not exactly my cup of tea. I do enjoy fried foods, but it’s the oiliness and that greasy film that it leaves on anything around the frying vicinity that makes it a less desirable undertaking. And not mention the unfortunate splattering that occurs; and when that rogue globule of hot oil hits you in the eye, well you can imagine the expletives that accidentally slip out. And if you were able to curb your cursing, im certain you would have said it in your head.

Moreover, don’t get me started about that pervading unpleasant fatty smell that it leaves behind when all the frying is over. Oh how I hated visiting a certain childhood friend’s house after long hot afternoons spent playing on the street. You see, as soon as you stepped through their front door, a wall of fried-fish smell would smack you in the face like a punch from Sugar Ray Robinson. I loved fried fish, it was one of my favourite things to eat growing in the Philippines, but fried fish is not exactly aromatic in that pleasant kind of way and it really is the last thing you want your house to be smelling like, essence des poisson.

Although I posses a palpable dislike for the method of frying, I do love the result. Where would doughnuts, beignets, fritters and fries be without frying? It may be an unsightly thing to do, but when properly contained, the hot-oil ogre can be tamed. And really, what is a party without a few bits of your flesh falling victim to several villainous spatters of hot oil. Growing up, a party wasn’t a party until we saw lumpia (spring rolls), turon (deep fried banana fritter), fried chicken, batter-fried prawns; you name it, we fried it.

Seeing that we were having some friends over for weekend festivities, the only thing I could think of doing was frying something. And although the perils of frying did abound, they were certainly not outweighed by the prospect of Ricotta Orange Puffs; and seeing that there was a surplus of Rosey Red Oranges and ricotta in my kitchen, the only option was to fry. An hour later, and several burn marks to bear witness to the fact that I fried for this party, a pile of puffs saw themselves being presented to a small group of ravenous adults. These puffs were great crowd pleasers and were not at all cloyingly sweet; so they will attract even those that do not have a sweet tooth.

Incredibly moist and fluffy, the puffs do not possess the greasy aftertaste that so many other fried foods tend to develop. I attribute it to the presence of orange zest. The aromatic zest counteracts any greasy tendencies, and because they are in the oil for such a short time, there really is no time for the oil to saturate the little puffs. So all I can say to you is, puff away to your heart's content, it will not disappoint. Perhaps the frying part will, but the eating part will definitely make you forget about the second-degree burns.

Ricotta Orange Puffs
(serves 4-6)

Ricotta Puffs

250g fresh ricotta
2 eggs, lightly beaten

½ cup plain all-purpose flour
20g unsalted butter, softened and sliced
2 tablespoon currants
3 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
vegetable oil for shallow-frying
icing sugar for dusting

Mix ricotta, eggs, flour, butter, currants and orange zest in a bowl until properly combined.
Cover with some clear plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan over medium heat.
Shallow fry a tablespoon of the ricotta mixture in batches for 30 seconds on each side or until just puffed and golden brown.
Drain on a paper towel.
Sift icing sugar over the puffs.

Serve with some dessert wine.


Tanna said...

I know what you mean - all the negatives: hot oil splatters and burns, bad for your heart - sometimes we just have to push to the way side and FRY baby FRY!
Your Ricotta Orange Puffs look tasty enough to throw caution to the wind and FRY. I'm very sure the adults loved them. I'd be happy with some!

Godknows said...

yum, i think i ate something like this when I was in Melbourne last year. Hope can eta it again in my next trip next year. Very nice website.

wheresmymind said...

First off...GREAT title!!! I'm with you on fried food...sorta gross smelling afterwards which is why we don't really cook indian food *shrug*

cin said...

Wow, I am so not a fan of frying anything at home but these look good enough to change my mind! Off to the market I go this weekend then.

Anita said...

Mmm, fried dough is the best! Your puffs look worth the trouble of stnading over a pan of hot oil!

Sara said...

I know what you mean about the smell of oil - I can't stand it! Those puffs are so beautiful.

peabody said...

Those look super yummy.

kathryn said...

I'm not much of a deep fryer either - for me there's something very disturbing about seeing all that fat and then putting my food into it. But I have to say your ricotta puffs look FABULOUS.

aria said...

jenjen, those look beyond yummy! i love these types of sweet treats. thx for the wonderful recipe, i need to try this :)

Jasmine said...

I admit that I'm a timid fryer. I suppose if I had one of those newfangled deepfryer machines I'd be better at it and less nervous (I have visions of the entire block going up in flames). But I am getting better at it.

Your ricotta orange puffs look positively dreamy!


Natalia said...

I love fried foods (who doesn't?), but I've never done it myself. I've got those same fears you talked about and I haven't overcome them yet. Your photos look so delicious though that I'm very, very tempted. I won't last much longer...

Julie said...

I'm just overcoming my fear of frying thing and my reasons for not doing it in the past were a lot of the ones you mentioned, particularly the way your house smells afterwards. But I love the wonderful food you can create by frying so sometimes I do it anyways.

Your puffs look delicious and I love the title of this post.

Ellie said...

I'm not the biggest fan of deep-frying things myself either, but for something that delish, I'll happily risk the oil burns!

Baking Soda said...

You forgot to mention the addictive quality of fried foods... home-made lumpia's are a favourite in our house and pisang goreng... These deliciouslooking puffs look like our "oliebollen" which are traditionally served at New Years Eve. I will hold on to your recipe, must try! (In Holland most households own an electric deep-fryer pan)

Geraldine said...

These look scrumptious!!!!

Mae said...

That first photo is making me want to grab one of those babies! Looks very enticing! Lucky guests - that's all i have to say about it...