Do you know what's the best? Donuts. And because it's Fat Tuesday, what better time is there to celebrate deep-fried dough? I really do love donuts and I would eat them more often if there were some good ones on my way to work. There are several gigantic Dunkin' Donuts billboards in Times Square, and yet all we've got on 42nd Street, (yes, the crossroads of the world) is a Tim Horton's. I generally try not be a hater, but Tim Horton's coffee tastes like tomato soup, something my little sister poignantly pointed out to me. And they never have donuts with pink frosting which is completely unAmerican. A TimBit will surely do in a pinch, though.
Anyway, I've never made donuts, but I have made plenty of deep-fried Italian desserts in my day. I am from Long Island, after all. Anybody who grew up on Long Island will give me an "amen" when I say that all of our first crushes were on hunky 20-somethings named Joe who served us zeppole at the fireman's fair. Any man, no matter how mousey or mafia-y, is instantly swoon-worthy when they're wearing a snug FDNY t-shirt and serving you way under-priced deep fried delicacies covered in powdered sugar. Take note, gentlemen.
These panzerotti that I made recently really brought me back. They're basically like ravioli donuts.... that sounds gross, but they're awesome. Vincenza (Sicilian best friend) informed me that panzerotti are usually savory and filled with mozzarella and prosciutto (yum), but this version, filled with chocolate and a sweet ricotta mixture are quite the slam dunk.
Here's the recipe. My one tip, especially if you're new to deep frying, is get a thermometer! Oil that's too hot will burn your treats, obviously, but even worse is oil that's not hot enough! Get your oil to a stead 350 degrees before dropping in your fritters, or you'll end up with something that's way too greasy and probably undercooked, yuck!