Fritti (Italian Deep-Fried Yeast Doughnuts)

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My family and the people in my hometown in WV (largely composed of Italian Americans whose ancestors immigrated from Southern Italy) have been making these delectable doughnuts for years.  They are simply a yeast dough which is deep-fried and then dusted with granulated sugar.  My family calls them fritti.  In fact, everyone in my hometown calls them fritti.  Fritto in Italian is the past tense for the verb, friggere, which means to fry.  It is also a noun that means fried food.  Fritti is the plural of fritto. 
 
I've searched many Italian cookbooks and the internet for recipes for Italian doughnuts with the name fritti and found none. So I believe that fritti isn't their authentic Italian name but a name given to them by Italian Americans.  I did find several other names for these heavenly fried rings of dough - bomboloni, bombe fritte, grispelle, grispedde, crespelle, vecchiarelle, zeppole, and cuddurieddi. All recipes are similar and each yields a slightly different version of my family's version of fritti.  Regardless of what you call them, they are delicious and best eaten hot or warm.  They will forever remind me of home.
 
Makes 25 doughnuts
 



 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 ounce (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
  •  1/2 cup lukewarm milk
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil (or 1/3 cup vegetable shortening)
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart vegetable (or peanut) oil for frying
 



 

Instructions

 
Step 1: Sprinkle the yeast over the 1/2 cup warm water, and let stand for 5 minutes, or until foamy.
 
Step 2: In a large bowl, mix together the yeast mixture, water, milk, sugar, salt, eggs, oil (or vegetable shortening), and 2 cups of the flour. Mix for a few minutes at low speed, or stir with a wooden spoon. 
 
Step 3: Beat in remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl. Knead for about 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. 
 
Step 4: Place the dough into a greased bowl, and cover. Set in a warm place to rise until double. 
 
Step 5: Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and gently roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a floured doughnut cutter. 
 
Step 6: Let doughnuts sit out to rise again until double. Cover loosely with a cloth.
 
Step 7: Heat oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy skillet to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). 
 
Step 8: Slide doughnuts into the hot oil using a wide spatula. Turn doughnuts over as they rise to the surface. Fry doughnuts on each side until golden brown. Remove from hot oil, to drain on a wire rack. Dip doughnuts in granulated sugar while still hot, and set onto wire racks to drain off excess. Serve immediately.
 
  
 
 



 

Comments

My family too are Italian who settled in West Virginia. When we were kids my grandparent made these with us every Christmas. We called them Frittos. Fridos. Fritti. I have never been able to find the recipe and never got it from them before they passed away. I can't wait to try this!!!

My Grandmother made these and called them "frits" ((with an Italian accent). We are from western Pa. With extended family in West Va.which might explain the common name for these. I am so happy to have finally found this recipe after many years of searching. These look exactly like my grandmother's.

I'm also from WV,I can remember making these at a very young age and I'm teaching my Grand Angel so it can be carried on! We use confectioners sugar instead of the granulated.

I am looking for a recipe but not sure how to spell the name. I take care of a lady in WV who is Italian. She said her mom used to make a dessert called "pizza piattis". Again, not sure of the spelling. She said her mom would roll out the dough then put raisins, walnuts, sugar and cinnamon, then roll it up and make a circle, like a wreath. If anyone knows what this is and has a recipe, PLEASE let me know. Thank you!

Hi Eileen, I am pretty certain that the dessert you are talking about is called pita 'mpigliata. it's phonetically pronounced pita piatta. I've posted my family's recipe on this site. See link: http://cucina.grandinetti.org/recipes/cookies/pita-mpigliata My family usually rolls out the dough, adds the raisins, walnuts, etc. Then rolls it into a long roll. bakes it and then slices the roll after it's baked. I've also seen them make it the way you describe as well. Hope this is the recipe you are looking for. Happy cooking. Cheryl

My family in Clarksburg, WV used to make me these every time I went there and they always called them Fritis, but any time I tried to look them up, nothing ever appeared. I guess it really is a West-Virginian/Italian thing. I am so glad I found this recipe because I haven't been able to have these after my grandparents died. Thanks for sharing!!

Wow! It’s so nice to see someone else posting about something from my childhood. Like you, I’ve certainly searched online for it the last 20 years. I grew up in a Navy family and one of our neighbors, Sandra, also Navy (husband), taught my mother how to make these when I was little. Sandra was from an Italian family and grew up in Louisiana. Her mother made these on Sunday mornings for breakfast, topped with nothing more than butter & granulated sugar. She made the dough ahead of time and placed it in the fridge, no rising at room temperature. She removed the bowl of dough from the fridge and pulled off a few pieces as needed (no rolling or cutting, no holes, "rustic" lol) and fried for breakfast. The longer the dough sits in the fridge the stronger the yeast flavor will be. Very, very good and fragrant. One of my favorite childhood memories and smells. Mom (age 74) still makes it for my nieces. I make it as well. Sandra and Mom always called it "fried bread". I'd never seen a fried bread post until I clicked on my #friedbread hashtag for my Instagram post and found a few others who had posted, along with the name "fritta." So I Googled “fritta” and found your post. Love it! By the way, I'm currently reading "The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken: A Search for Food and Family" by Laura Schenone and would highly suggest it to anyone interested in food history and how Italian Americans adapted recipes from their homeland. It's great to know that this includes fried bread.

Thanks Eric for your post. I'm glad you enjoyed the recipe and the post. I will check out the cookbook you suggested. It sounds like a cookbook that I would like!

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