ciambella fritta donut

Ciambelle or Donuts? here the real Roman-style recipe

Warning, what you are looking at is not a donut!

This is the famous Roman fried donut (ciambella fritta) that is produced in thousands in all the pastry shops in the capital, fresh from the day.

It is found in bars and pastry stores in the early morning, supplied by the bakeries that bake at night. Immediately sold out if you are not an early bird. Just keep this in mind if you would like to have one in the afternoon, they are nowhere to be found.

Where does this recipe come from?

Deriving from the peasant tradition, like most traditional sweets, it refers to holidays.

Surely it begins with a dough of bread, subsequently enriched with sugar and aromas and is linked to baptisms, communions, weddings or peasant celebrations linked to the threshing of wheat.

The fact that the ciambella fritta is a fried dessert immediately makes us think of poor tables.

Frying was, in fact, much simpler than lighting an oven for poor people.

During the Middle Ages it was even forbidden to bake bread in the ovens except on certain occasions. Here frying becomes a complementary way to cook.

What is the difference with the American cousin, called donut?

Firstly, the appearance, you will never find a local pastry chef dressing the ciambelle fritte with coloured icings or sugar tails, but only a sparkle of sugar.

The fried donut therefore has its origins in all countries, with different derivations, however, it has become an institution in the United States where two legends compete for the origin of the dessert.

The first refers to stories of ships and sailors, at the beginning of the century.

The sailor Hanson Crockett Gregory explained in an interview that, tired of eating raw sweets inside, he decided to create them with a hole.

The second story linked to the origin of this dessert, sees a chief of a Wampanoag Indian tribe as the protagonist.

During a pursuit of a settler, who was holding a pancake in his hand as he fled, an Indian boy shot an arrow that dug a hole inside the cake.

For us Italians, donuts are Homer Simpson’s favourite sweets, and, judging by the American TV series, the preferred food of US policemen.

And no, I have never seen an Italian policeman eating donuts.

Do you want to try making donuts at home?

Here is the recipe for 15 large donuts.

  • 330 grams of flour ’00
  • 230 grams of strong Manitoba type flour
  • 130 gr of fresh whole milk at room temperature
  • 130 gr of water at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon of dry yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 50 grams of sugar
  • 50 grams of butter at room temperature
  • 9 gr of salt
  • grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • grated peel of 1 large orange
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla flavoring
  • About 1 liter of oil for frying

First, marinate the grated citrus peel for 2-24 hours with the aroma of vanilla and half a lemon.

Mix 95 grams of flour with 50 ml of water and 50 ml of milk. Cover with cling film and let it rest in the heat until bubbles appear.

Then add the rest of the flours, the milk and water, and finally the sugar. You work a lot, you can also use the mixer at low speed.

Add the egg, the chopped butter and salt. when the dough becomes shiny and well blended, place it in a bowl.

Let it rise for at least 3 hours until it has tripled its volume.

Roll it out with a rolling pin and create circles with the hole in the center, using a pastry cutter or glasses and bowls to get the shape of the donut.

Let the forms rest at 26-28 degrees until doubled in volume, then fry your ciambella fritta one by one in abundant boiling oil.

In conclusion, dry them with absorbent paper and sprinkle them with sugar before serving.

Enjoy your meal!

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