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Frittele da Imperador Magnifici

The recipe, as it appears in the 14th-century Anonimo Veneziano, reads:  If you want to make Imperial fritters, take the whites of eggs and slices of fresh cheese.  Beat them (the cheese) with the white of the egg, and add a little bit of wheat flour and whole peeled pine nuts.  Take a frying pan with plenty of grease (oil) and put it to boil (heat) then make the fritters (fry in the fat).  When they are cooked sprinkle them with plenty of sugar and keep them hot, etc.  Here’s my take on it.

Makes about 24 fritters

1 cup ricotta

2 egg whites

1/4 cup flour or as needed

1/4 cup pine nuts

lard, clarified butter or grape seed oil for frying

confectioners’ sugar

Make sure the ricotta has very low water content.  If it is at all runny, drain it overnight in coffee-filter-lined sieve.  Stir together with the eggs whites, flour and pine nuts.  Heat about 2 inches of lard or oil in a heavy pan to about 375°F.  Using two small spoons, form the batter into lozenges (each about a tablespoon) and drop into the hot fat.  If you find the fritters are falling apart add a little flour.  Cook until deep gold.  Sprinkle generously with confectioner’s sugar.  Serve warm.