Autumn weather and a windy afternoon outside just screams for Fritti di Latte, which is a speciality all around Montorio al Vomano in Abruzzo’s Teramo province. When her grandchildren were smaller our neighbour Italia used to frequently cook these delicious treats and deliver them, a few dropped off to us along the way, still warm & perfect with a mid-morning coffee.
Fritti di Latte have a reputation for being served like skinny fingers Christmas treats for the under 5s… whilst adults polish off caggionetti, the sweet chocolate & chestnut rum fried ravioli. In one local restaurant we’ve also had fritti di latte served as antipasti, when they acted as a delicate silky light base for assorted wild mushrooms that were balanced on top, only lacking the sugar; the cinnamon and lemon flavours worked so well with the meaty like Autumn fungi. A blinder of a reinvention of this formerly sweet dish, I have to say it’s now one of my favourite Autumn antipasti dishes it worked that well.
It’s difficult finding a true history of these fried milk fritters, they are in substance a very Roman sort of sweet that you can imagine being made with honey; there are stories of monks bringing variants of this into Northern Italy, there is something similar across in Ascoli in Le Marche with fried cream, and in Sicily where they are coated in breadcrumbs, but I haven’t had anything else quite like this local Teramo variation outside this area, not even in other areas of Abruzzo.
I’ve used the recipe from ‘L’Antica Cucina Teramana’ by Dr Annunziata Taraschi, a specialist in local food ethnography. Nuncia is very kindly allowing us to serialise these traditional old recipes on the site so more coming soon! They don’t work quite so well cold, so are best made as a small batch unless you are having a comfort food fest!
Fritti di Latte – Makes 12 servings
1/5 litre of Milk (skimmed DOESN’T work don’t try!)
4 heaped dessertspoons of plain flour
4 level dessertspoons of soft brown sugar
1/2 Cinnamon Stick
Zest from 1 lemon
Mix sugar and flour together in a bowl.
Add the milk slowly, stirring with a spoon.
Sieve this mixture into a milk saucepan to ensure no lumps, and mix with lemon zest and a cinnamon stick
On a very low heat, cook the mixture stirring constantly for 10 minutes until dense without any floppiness.
Take a marble or wooden chopping board and dollop the dough like milk onto the board. Smooth into the shape of a rectangle that is about 1.5 cm deep & leave to cool.
Cut the cool dough into rows and then rectangles.
Take a rectangle, dip first into egg and then into flour to coat it.
Heat some peanut oil and fry each rectangle individually, when golden on both sides they are done.
Serve warm with a little sprinkled sugar over the top