Frittelle di Chanukah
Adapted from Jewish Food Experience
Quantity: 40–50 fritters
1 package (21⁄4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1 cup whole milk, heated to about 90 degrees
1 teaspoon salt
11⁄2 teaspoons anise seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for coating the bowl
2 tablespoons honey
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 1⁄4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 cup finely chopped raisins oil for frying
Topping Ingredient, 1 cup of honey, preferably orange blossom
In a large bowl, combine the milk with the yeast, and let the mixture stand until the yeast is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, coat another large bowl with olive oil and set aside.
Add the salt, anise seeds, vanilla, oil, honey, cinnamon and 2 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and combine well. Gradually stir in additional flour as needed to make a soft dough.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 6 minutes. Knead in the raisins in 3 or 4 additions. Shape the dough in a ball and place in the bowl coated with olive oil. Lift the dough out, turn it over and place the un-oiled side down in the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, about 15 minutes before you are ready to work with it, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Press down on the plastic wrap to compress the dough and let it rest covered, 15 minutes.
Lightly dust a surface with flour. Press or roll the dough into a 1⁄2-inch thick rectangle, roughly 9-by-15 inches. Using a pizza cutter or very sharp knife, cut the dough into approximately 1- to 11⁄2-inch-wide strips, then cut diagonally across them to make diamond shapes (squares or cookie cutter shapes are fine, too). Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rest 35 to 40 minutes.
After about 20 minutes, add oil to a large deep-sided pan to a depth of about 11⁄2 inches. Warm it over medium heat to 375 degrees.
Working in batches so as not to crowd to the pan, drop the dough into the hot oil. When the bottoms turn light golden brown (after 20 to 40 seconds), turn fritters over with tongs or a slotted spoon to brown other side (another 30 seconds or so). Remove to a paper-towel lined plate to drain. Repeat with remaining fritters.
Add the honey to a saucepan and heat to a low boil. Reduce heat and cook another minute. Remove from heat.
Place the fritters on a platter and liberally drizzle the honey over them. Serve hot or warm.