Many pastry shops in Sicily excel in one or another specialty. Others manage to prepare outstanding examples of several types of the pastry chef’s art and perhaps are known for good ices and beautiful miniature pastries. Only
Noto itself has a dreamlike quality. The old city was destroyed during an earthquake at the end of the seventeenth century, and early in the eighteenth century it was rebuilt on its present site entirely in Sicilian High Baroque style. The churches, monasteries, and palaces vie with each other in splendor, and though many have seen better days, they now have a slightly dusty quality that tempers their exaggerated grandeur.
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One important note about serving the frittelle: they cannot wait and must be eaten immediately after being fried, drained, and sweetened. Prepare them for a very informal or family occasion, when you can easily spend twenty minutes in the kitchen for the frying.
To cook the rice, bring the stock or salted water to a boil in a small pan with a tight-fitting lid. Add the rice, stir once with a fork, cover the pan, and cook the rice over the lowest heat for about 15 minutes, checking to make sure that the liquid has not evaporated and the rice is not sticking. If necessary, add several tablespoons of boiling water to the rice if it is dry but still not cooked. When the rice is cooked it should be fairly soft. Spread the rice out on a plate to cool.
For the batter, heat the milk or water to lukewarm, about 105 degrees, pour into a bowl, and whisk in the yeast. Add the flour, sugar, and salt, stirring gently to avoid making the batter elastic. Stir in the rice and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to ferment until foamy, about 30 minutes.
Over medium heat, heat the oil to 375 degrees in a
Once the frittelle are in the oil, stir them gently with a slotted spoon, making sure that they color evenly. Remove to a pan lined with paper towels to drain for a few minutes. Arrange the first frittelle on a plate and drizzle with the honey. Sprinkle with the granulated sugar and cinnamon. Serve-immediately. Repeat the process with the other two-thirds of the batter, serving each batch as soon as it is fried, drained, and garnished.
© 1990 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.