Settle, my children. Settle.
Nestle into those heirloom quilts. Can you hear the snap of resin pockets, in this, the first fire of fall? Stay back from the hearth. We need to talk about Ricotta Fritters.
These Ricotta Fritters.
They are straight Brunch Grub, a classification that is lauded only the highest order of food that shouldn't be eaten for Breakfast but is, on late mornings that are really early 'noons. Call it a doughnut, if you need forgiveness from your community. Because these are like doughnuts, but so different, and after working with them I'm excited to deep fry some yeasty circles. It is just two inches of hot fat. Just two inches. Anything that is two inches long or deep, in general, is not that intimidating. We all know that.
Stop it, Grandma.
Gale Gand is the creator of this filthy delicious recipe, or at least the person who spread it around. Her mother-in-law, Vita, apparently owns original rights and Vita did us all a lovely solid by sharing this recipe with Gale, so after you make these and after you bite into your first one, take a moment and mouth her name silently before quietly pounding the table with your fist. Ol' Vita combines eggs and whole milk ricotta, a little sugar, flour, vanilla and baking powder which blooms into this light, cloud-like dough that you drop into your untimidating two inches of hot fat (I used vegetable oil, I feel like lard might make these illegal in Vatican City) and let roll and roll and brown and crisp and roll one more time, before lifting, draining and showering with powdered sugar. Because the dough, while airy and light, eggy and rich, is not even close to being sweet. So the coating is neccessary. Don't skip it.
Now. We know by now that Vita is O.G. beyond all legal points, but I went astray, and the recipe below reflects my adaptations. This is the gist of it - I added salt to the dough, and the zest of a Meyer Lemon. I Ooomphed the vanilla. And after trying one, or two, two and a half, with just powdered sugar I decided to drizzle the next round with honey both before and after the powdered sugar. Those were the Damn Winners. Please do that.
I served them with a quick Peach Compote, recipe below, but not pictured because it looked like a pile of fiberous yams or something, ruining everything. But it tastes like a dream, when you split a fritt and stuff it full of compote and then shove it in your mouth. This is such a lovely, surprising but not whimsical dish to have under your belt for Brunch. I said goodbye to this summer with these fritters, and it was so fitting - like the past few months, these were new, sweet, and you leave licking your fingers, feeling a little guilty and a lotta' good.
Meyer Lemon Ricotta Fritters, with Vanilla-Peach Compote
Adapted from Gale Gand, and Vita
Vegetable Oil, for frying
1 1/4 cups AP flour, whisked with a fork before measuring
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
Zest of one Meyer (or regular, you won't be kicked out) Lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
Honey, Powdered Sugar and Peach Compote, to serve
In a large, deep, heavy-bottomed cast iron or similar pot, heat two to three inches of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees - test with a thermometer, or upend the handle of a wooden spoon into the oil. When small bubbles begin rapidly streaming out from around it, the oil is ready.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt and zest until pale and combined. Add the ricotta cheese, stirring well, and once that is a cream-colored silky emulsion, add the flour and baking powder - switch to a wooden spoon, and mix until JUST incorporated.
Using a small ice cream scoop or spoon, drop rounded balls of dough (they expand, so be modest, be scant) into the sizzling oil - Gand recommends no more than 8 per round, I found that six was just fine.
When fritters are a deep golden brown on all sides, and light when lifted with a spider, strainer or similar, test one by cutting in half and checking to make sure no raw batter remains - this is only a concern if you make them on the larger size, anything smaller than a golf ball and you're good to go on color alone. Drain well, on brown paper bags or paper towels, and serve warm, dusted generously with powdered sugar and drizzled with honey, a small ramekin of Peach Compote on the side. Flip out.
4-5 heaping cups fresh, peeled and diced peach chunks
1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 - 1/3 cup of granulated sugar, depending on personal taste and how ripe your peaches are
Juice from half a Lemon, of any sort
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
In a suitably-sized heavy-bottomed pan, preferably Stainless Steel, combine all ingredients and stir well with a wooden spoon. Cook down over medium heat, until slurpy, thick and unctuous, around 20 to 30 minutes. Serve warm. Bliss out.