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DEEP-FRIED SAVORY TARTS

Nancy Harmon Jenkins

HOME > BREAD & PIZZA
Panzerotti Puglia
Preparation - Medium
60 - 70 Panzerotti

Deep-fried panzerotti are traditionally made in Bari for the feast of Sant'Antonio Abate (St. Anthony Abbot) on January 17, the day that marks the beginning of Carnival. But nowadays you're apt to find them whenever there's occasion for a festa. Like most Barese, my friend Pino Marchese likes hot panzerotti spread with ricotta forte, an almost painfully strong double-fermented cheese spread. But panzerotti are just as delightful on their own, especially made as small as possible in one-bite sizes. The stuffings vary, but the most popular is a mixture of onions, black olives, capers, anchovies, and tomatoes.

As an alternative to frying, panzerotti may be brushed with egg wash and baked in a preheated 375 degrees F. oven for 15 minutes, until golden and puffed.

INGREDIENTS:
FOR THE DOUGH :
  • 1 teaspoon dried yeast dissolved in 1 cup warm water
  • 6 to 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup warm whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
FOR THE ONION-OLIVE STUFFING :
  • 1 pound yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 drained canned plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup pitted black Kalamata olives (about 20 olives)
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 4 oil-packed anchovy fillets, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
FOR THE SPICY PORK STUFFING :
  • One 1-inch slice stale country-style bread, crusts removed
  • 1/2 pound very lean ground pork
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil for deep-frying
OO Deep frying, kneading surface, mixing bowl, work surface.

METHOD:
  1. MAKE the dough by stirring the dissolved yeast into about 2 cups of the flour. Gradually work in the milk, oil, wine, and salt, alternating with more flour, until you have used about 5 cups of flour. The dough should he very soft, but if it is too wet to knead by hand, add more flour. Sprinkle a cup of flour on a bread board and knead the dough for about 5 minutes until it is satiny and smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel, and set aside in a warm place to rise for at least 1 hour until doubled in size.
  2. WHILE the dough is rising make the stuffings (see directions below).
  3. WHEN the dough has doubled, punch it down and form into 60 to 70 small walnut-sized balls. Set the balls on a lightly floured board, cover with a dampened cloth, and let rise 1 hour.
  4. WORKING with a few pieces of dough at a time, roll out each ball on a lightly floured board to a thin 4-inch circle. Drop a tablespoon or more of stuffing on one side of the circle and fold over the other side, first running a damp finger around the edge. Seal the panzerotti by pressing on the rims with a fork. Set each one as it is finished on a rack. Leave the panzerotti to dry for at least 15 minutes after the last one is completed.
  5. WHEN ready to cook, heat the oil in a deep-frying pan to a temperature of 360 degrees F. Drop the panzerotti in the hot oil four or five at a time, and fry, turning as necessary, until both sides are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Remove and drain on a rack covered with paper towels. Serve immediately.
  6. T0 make the onion-olive stuffing, gently saute' the onions in the olive oil over medium-low heat until they are very soft but not brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 5 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft and dissolving. Away from the heat, stir in the remaining ingredients.
  7. TO make the spicy pork stuffing, cover the stale bread slice with warm water and immediately squeeze all the water out and tear the bread into small pieces. Combine all the ingredients with the soaked bread in a small bowl, kneading well with the hands to mix.

Source:
Flavors of Puglia
Nancy Harmon Jenkins
Broadway Books

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