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Ricotta Fritters from il Buco

Apricot liqueur gives these fluffy fritters a boozy boost.

Donna Lennard’s New York restaurant il Buco has been a destination for stars, first daters, and special-occasion diners since it opened in 1994 in a former antique store. One of the city’s pioneers of rustic Italian cooking, il Buco recently released its first cookbook, which brings well-loved dishes from the restaurant into the home. Among them, il Buco’s ricotta fritters, which are prepared annually for the restaurant’s sagre di maiale, or pig roast. These fluffy fritters rely on the versatility of fresh ricotta as the base, and are rounded out by the addition of apricot liqueur to the batter. Dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with pomegranate molasses, the fritters make an excellent snack if you can’t wait until dessert.

Ingredients

Yield:Approximately 20 fritters
  • 1 3⁄4 cups fresh whole milk ricotta cheese, drained in cheesecloth overnight
  • 3⁄4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 cup apricot liqueur
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2⁄3 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1⁄8 tsp. fine sea salt
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1⁄4 cup pomegranate molasses, preferably Al Wadi brand
  • Tools:small bowl, whisk, Dutch oven, large spoon, slotted spoon, baking sheet, wire rack

Preparation

In a small bowl, stir together the ricotta, flour, and apricot liqueur. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, confectioners’ sugar, 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice, the lemon zest, and the sea salt. Combine the ricotta mixture and egg mixture, then cover the batter and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a Dutch oven, heat 2 1⁄2 inches of oil to 370 degrees Fahrenheit over medium-high heat. Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, shape the dough into golf ball–size balls and carefully drop them directly into the oil, working in batches to make sure they do not touch. Fry each one until golden, turning so evenly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Throughout, keep an eye on the oil to make sure the temperature stays steady and does not get too hot.

Remove the fritters from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Place the finished fritters on a rack on a sheet pan in the oven to keep warm while you make the rest.

When the entire batch is done, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, drizzle with pomegranate molasses, and serve.

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