Oh my goodness these fried pizzas are incredible!
I remember when my friend Maria from Naples used to make them as nibbles for dinner parties or even just as a treat for the family. In the space of 15 minutes there were none left! They certainly make the perfect super tasty finger food to go with a good glass of bubbly.
They are simply fried pizza dough: you make little round shapes of dough, you fry them and add a topping of your choice. Mine only had tomato sauce on top with dried oregano, fresh basil leaves and a sprinkle of Parmigiano cheese. You can add some other cheese like mozzarella or ricotta and some other topping of your choice too.
"Pizzelle" are a typical example of "la cucina povera" from Naples. In the early 19th century they used to be sold to passers-by or to the ladies of the neighborhood who would drop baskets from balconies in the streets of Naples. The seller would shout: "eat today and pay in eight days" as this was when food was scarce and many people could not afford a decent meal every day.
So, put your apron on and start making pizzelle but be warned: once you start you cannot stop eating them!
- Prep Time : 25 minutes
- Cook Time : 30 minutes
- Yield : 12
- strong bread flour - 300 g + 2 + ¾ cup + extra to sprinkle
- lukewarm water - 160 ml - 5.4 fl oz
- 1 sachet dried yeast - 1 x 7g - 0.25 oz
- olive oil - 2 tbsp
- salt - 1/2 tsp
- oil for frying
- For the topping:
- tomato sauce - 250 ml - 8.5 fl oz
- olive oil - 1 tbsp
- garlic clove - 1
- grated parmigiano reggiano - to sprinkle
- dried oregano - 2 tsp
- fresh basil leaves
Put the flour, the yeast, the oil and the lukewarm water in a bowl. Mix well with a spoon then add the salt and combine well.
Sprinkle your work top with a little flour. Working with your hands or in a processor make a smooth and elastic dough. Work the dough for 10 minutes. Add extra flour if it feels too sticky or a little extra water if it is too dry.
With the dough make balls the size of a golf ball, line them up on a well greased or non- stick tray, cover them with a cloth and let them rest in a warm place until they have doubled in size. This should take about 2 hours. You can put them in the oven with the light left on, the temperature will be ideal.
Make the sauce by stir frying the garlic clove with a splash of olive oil; remove the garlic, add the tomato sauce with a pinch of salt and the dried oregano. Let it simmer for 15 minutes.
When the pizzette have risen, flatten them gently with your hands leaving the edges slightly raised so you will be able to put the sauce on them when they are cooked.
Heat plenty of oil in a large pan. When the oil is hot (you can test it with a toothpick, if it sizzles it is ready) dip the dough and fry it until golden turning it on both sides so it cooks evenly.
Fish up the dough with a slotted spoon and place it on kitchen paper so any extra oil will be absorbed.
Spread the sauce on each fried dough, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garnish with a basil leaf. You can add some other cheese instead and add olives, anchovies or anything else you fancy.
Enjoy hot! This is proper street food!