Tuscan rice fritters: curiosity and recipe

The Tuscan rice fritters, also known as “Frittelle di San Giuseppe”, together with the Zeppole are the traditional dessert of Father’s Day. At the same time, being a fried dessert, it is highly sought after and proposed in the most renowned restaurants in Italy. The origins of the Tuscan rice fritters date back to the 15th century, in the Renaissance period, and in some books found by historians and archaeologists you can read the recipes for this dessert. In particular, Martino de ‘Rossi, master of culinary art, and chef of the Sforza in Milan as well as of Pope Martin V in Rome, deals with the recipe in detail: cook the rice well in milk, then give the preparation a round shape, creating round pancakes to be fried in oil, or lard, or cooked in milk or cheese. This recipe, even today, is considered the most authentic for Tuscan rice fritters.

San Giuseppe and the Tuscan pancakes

Traditionally, the Tuscan rice fritters have always been served on Father’s Day, which is why they are known as Frittelle di San Giuseppe.

It seems that popular culture recognizes San Giuseppe as a pancake maker and, in honor of him, street vendors and pastry chefs generally dedicate the preparation of this dessert to him.

The “frittellari” of Siena were skilled artisans, both in the stalls and in the workshops they produced sweet or savory fried foods, and each of them boasted a different secret to offer a better flavor.

Over time the variations of the original recipe have multiplied, even in neighboring regions, such as Lazio and Umbria.

Each cook started adding ingredients to diversify the pancakes: cream, raisins, toasted almonds, candied fruit, jams, chocolate, hazelnuts. This trend has spread to every part of Italy.

Tuscan rice pancakes: original recipe

The recipe for Tuscan rice fritters has very low costs, regarding the ingredients, while the timing and preparation need attention for the success of the dish.

The preparation time of the pancakes is about 45 minutes, to which must be added 30 minutes of cooking and another 2 hours of rest of the dish.

The ingredients for the recipe are:

• 300 grams of white rice like Rome

• half liter of milk

• half a liter of water

• 3 fresh eggs

• 70 grams of powdered sugar

• 30 grams of sugar

• 30 grams of butter

• half a glass of rum for sweets

• lemon juice to taste

• orange juice to taste

• 1 sachet of vanillin

• 1 tablespoon of flour

• 1 lemon zest

• 1 squeeze of orange

• sunflower oil for frying

Cook the water and milk in a saucepan, stirring and bringing to a boil.

Add the rice, a pinch of salt, sugar, vanilla, finely grated lemon and orange zest.

Mix, mixing everything. When the rice is cooked, add the butter, mix, and let the mixture cool.

Then, add the powdered sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, rum and egg yolks.

Separately whip the egg whites and add them to the rice along with the flour. Mix everything together and form the pancakes, while the oil for frying is brought to a boil in a pan.

Leave the rice mixture in the fridge between one frying and the next. As soon as they are cooked, roll the pancakes in sugar and let them cool before serving.

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