Today is the international holiday, World Nutella Day, hosted by Michelle from Bleeding Espresso and Sara from Ms. Adventures in Italy. Six years ago "with a dream and a spoon" they deemed February 5th the Nutella Day holiday and history was made. So popular this holiday is, they've even made a book about it.
For the last three years I've been participating in the celebrations, not only by eating spoonfuls of Nutella, but also by making something sweet and even sharing the story of my first taste of Nutella. This year the Nutella holiday fell on the same weekend as the start of Carnival in Venice. I couldn't resist making these fried Carnival treats and filling them with the chocolate and hazelnutty goodness - Nutella!
During the Carnival season, you'll find pastry shop windows in Venice full of the various kinds of frittelle - with raisins & pine nuts, filled with pastry cream or cream chantilly, and apple fritters. Only once last year during Carnival did I see frittelle filled with Nutella; it was on my food walk with Monica. But once I saw them, I knew they would be the treats I made for this year's celebration. Here's the recipe, adapted from the traditional recipe in the cookbook, Venice Tradition and Food, one of the many cookbooks I've brought home from my travels.
Frittelle Veneziane filled with Nutella
Adapted from Venice Tradition and Food by Pino Agostini, Alvise Zorzi & Luca Steffenoni
(Makes about 24 frittelle)
3 ½ cups (500 grams) "00" flour**
3 ½ ounces (100 grams) sugar, plus more for garnishing the frittelle
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1 ¾ cups whole milk, divided in half, plus more if needed
1 ½ ounces (40 grams) yeast
6-8 cups peanut or grapeseed oil (or another oil with a high smoking point) for frying
1 large jar (26 ounces) Nutella
**NOTE: "00" flour is the best flour to use to get light and airy frittelle. If you cannot find "00" flour, you can use 300 grams of cake flour and 200 grams of all-purpose flour as a close substitute.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Stir the eggs and half of the milk together and add it to the flour mixture. Whisk together gently just until combined. Warm the other half of the milk and add the yeast, stirring until the yeast is dissolved. Add the milk and yeast mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until all the ingredients are combined. The dough will be quite loose/wet. Don't try to dissolve all the lumps in the dough, or you will overwork the flour causing the frittelle to be dense and heavy. Cover the bowl with a towel and let rise for about 5 hours when it should have doubled in size.
When the dough is ready, stir it again. It should still be very loose and sticky. If it's not, add a little more milk.
In a heavy pot for frying, heat the oil to 365° F (180° C). Spoon the batter, scooped into 1 1/2 inch balls, into the oil. (I used an ice cream scooper, spraying it with non-stick cooking spray). Fry until the frittelle are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Don't overcrowd your pot, or you will reduce the temperature of the oil, and they will not cook properly. I fried 5 frittelle at a time in my large pot.
Remove the frittelle with a slotted spoon and place on a plate covered with paper towels to drain. Once they've cooled enough to handle, roll them in granulated sugar. Once you've fried all the frittelle, poke a hole in the tops of them. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round tip with Nutella and pipe Nutella into each frittelle. They should be eaten while they are still warm. Enjoy!
Happy Nutella Day! What is your favorite way of eating Nutella and/or your best recipe with Nutella?