I had been wanting to make halloumi for some time. Don’t you just love halloumi? It’s delicious squigginess after it has been fried? The SBS television show “Food Safari” recently chatted to a lady who made halloumi and loved to give it away as gifts. She had such a passion for her cheese. It was second nature for her to turn a bucket load of milk into fabulous halloumi. I have this image etched into my mind of her taking the slabs of cheese, salting them well then folding the slabs in half and pressing down with such confidence. Oh, she had such confidence she gave me confidence! So the other day I made halloumi. Yes, it worked and yes, I’m very proud of myself. But reading recipes, checking temperatures, measurements and times reminds me that it take many years and many halloumi making days before one can gain the confidence this lady has with cheesemaking. We follow recipes, but in the small villages around the world the young are being taught by the old to make traditional recipes by feel, touch and taste. What a gift!
Cheesemaking results in LOTS of whey! What to do with all this whey. Make ricotta, of course. And with the fresh ricotta – Sfinci di Ricotta! Sfinci are a delicious fried dough treat rolled in sugar and cinnamon. These are made with ricotta and are absolutely amazing. A deep frying thermometer is essential as the correct temperature ensures the sfinci don’t absorb oil and become greasy. This recipe uses ricotta and baking powder and the result is a wonderful crisp exterior and inside just delightfully tender.
If you can find the the packaged Italian vanilla sugar, Vanillina I do recommend it. However substituting a spoonful of vanilla sugar or a teaspoon of vanilla extract is fine.
Sfinci di Ricotta
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup milk
1 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup of well drained ricotta
2 envelopes Vanillina
vegetable oil for frying
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Heat oil in a large heavy pot and attached a deep fry thermometer to the side. Heat the oil to 365F/185C.
In the meantime make the batter. Heat the sugar and milk in a medium saucepan, stirring occasionally until the sugar is dissolved and the milk is hot.Remove from heat add in the vanillina.
In bowl whisk the flour, baking powder and salt.
Whisk the eggs and the ricotta into the milk mixture then tip the milk/egg/ricotta mixture into the flour and whisk to combine.
Before you start frying mix the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl ready to roll the sfinci.
Prepare a tray lined with paper towels ready to drain the sfinci.
Once the oil is at the correct temperature, use two teaspoons to scoop and push the batter into the hot oil. Don’t overcrowd the pan. Fry for about 5 minute until the sfinci are well browned.
Remove and drain on the paper towels then roll in cinnamon sugar.
You really should eat these as soon as possible. Sfinci are best in the first hour after frying.
Whenever you take batter, deep fry it then roll it in sugar it has to be good but these are better than good – they are addictive!
Promise me that you will try them!