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.
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.