Monday, 24 September 2007

The Real Deal: Authentic Italian Fried Dough

It's several days later and I'm STILL droning on about the food I had at The Big E. I can't help it. As I said in my earlier post, I gorged myself on all manner of foods outside of my normal diet. And I am already anticipating my trip there next year.

The most sinful delight I had when I was at the fair was traditional Italian fried dough. Yum, yum, yum. Wikipedia claims that they're also called elephant ears, whale tails, pizza frita, frying saucers, doughboys and even beavertails (in Canada). The only one of these that I've ever heard of is "pizza frita", and believe me, it's the furthest thing from fried dough that there is. Pizza frita are batter-dipped and fried pizza slices. Yup. And they're quite popular in Scotland no less!

When I venture out of New England, I am quite amazed that this treat, a staple of all New England county and state fairs, is virtually non-existent. When I lived in Florida, the closest thing to fried dough you could find at the county fairs were churros, although I guess they both are distant cousins.

Basically, what New Englanders call "fried dough" is nothing more than deep fried pizza dough. When deep-fried, the dough puffs up quite beautifully and is very light and airy. It is always served with a choice of pizza sauce and parmesan or powdered sugar. It is NEVER served with any other kind of sauce or topping, nor is it ever stuffed with anything. I pride myself on being a fried dough purist. Nuff said.

So now that the Big E, most county fairs and the San Gennaro's Festival in NYC are over with, I'll just have to wait until next year for more true Italian fried dough. For those of you who can't wait, my recipe is below!


Chef Mom

Authentic Italian Fried Dough

1 lb pizza dough, homemade or store bought

Oil for deep frying

Pizza sauce and parmesan cheese or confectioner's sugar for toppings

In a deep fryer or heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the oil to 375 degrees. If using a pan, make sure you have at least 4" of oil so that the dough can swim freely.

Divide your dough into 4 or more pieces, depending on the desired size of the finished product. On a lightly floured surface, press the dough into a flat round (usually approx. 6" wide). Drop the dough discs into the hot oil. The dough will rise to the surface as it cooks. Once it rises, let it continue to cook for a few minutes, turning occasionally, until golden brown on both sides.

Remove from hot oil and let drain. Top with hot pizza sauce and parmesan cheese or a sprinkling of confectioner's sugar.


Anonymous said...

From my experiences(which are not very extensive from growing up in MA), Massachusetts usually sells fried dough with only cinnamon and powdered sugar topping, while Connecticut sells theirs with only pizza sauce as a topping. Which my boyfriend (from CT) and I (from MA) argue over which state has better fried dough toppings...

Chef Mom said...

Lovers should never fight, so let me put an end to this: Connecticut has the better fried dough toppings! hee hee hee Guess where I live?! :)

Anonymous said...

My great aunt and great grandmother, who came from Italy itself, called these fried pieces of dough "pizza frit". So wikipedia is actually correct.

And the only topping they ever used was confectioners sugar.

Michael said...

In my family (massachusetts-italian american) we only ate fried dough at breakfast time, especially sundays when mamma made the good stuff. We put a little salt, never sugar... and we ate it with eggs, i recommend over easy for nice dipping delight. this taste makes me feel about 10 years old every time i eat it. we call them cuccoli ("kook o lees") can anyone second that word?? i can't find the etimology

jruger1027 said...

Being raised in Ct and now Living in Gerogia, i know what you mean by not finding the normal food. when i make something like this for my hubby the first time he knida look at me funny. now he wants to move up north so our boys can have the food i grew up on.

Joanne Natale Cardi said...

My Grandpa was a baker from Italy,and growing up he always made pizza frits. So I agree, wikipedia is correct, howevermy grandpa always used cinnamon sugar on his pizzafrits.