The origin of these rice fritters is to be found in Sicily’s Arab heritage. Apparently, one of the culinary habits in those times was to fry certain foods which had previously been allowed to ferment. These were known as ‘sfinci’ from which the Sicilians have derived their name for all manner of fritters – with potatoes, pumpkins, ricotta cheese and many other things. They are crisp and very crackly on the outside, with a soft inside rather like an orange rice pudding
Mix the milk and water together and bring to the boil. As soon as they reach boiling point, add the rice and stir. Cook for about 15 minutes then leave to cool. When cold, stir in the orange rind, cinnamon, half the sugar, the flour and the yeast. Mix very thoroughly together, then set aside in a warm place, covered with a cloth, to rise for 2 hours – it doesn’t puff much.
Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 195°C (385°F). Using a wooden spatula and a spoon, scoop out even-sized lumps of the dough on the spatula and scrape them carefully into the hot oil with the spoon.
Fry in batches of 6 at a time until golden brown, then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper for a few seconds before tossing lightly in the remaining sugar (you may need a little more sugar). Serve hot with icy, dry white wine.
© 1995 Valentina Harris. All rights reserved.