Author Notes: Honey-soaked, deep-fried pastry wheels would never be left off the Christmas table in Puglia. —Emiko
Makes: 25 pastries
tablespoons olive oil
Lemon, mandarin or orange peel
cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
cup (180 ml) white wine (or dessert wine)
Oil, for frying
- Warm the oil in a small saucepan with the citrus peel and cook until the peel begins to sizzle and the oil infuses with the citrus, a few minutes. Remove the peel and discard.
- Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the oil and add the wine, little by little, mixing from the centre outwards to incorporate the flour and create a dough. Knead until soft and elastic, about 10 minutes by hand.
- Roll out the pastry dough to a thickness of 2-3 mm (1/10 inch)—a (well-floured) pasta rolling machine is ideal for this very elastic dough. Otherwise you can roll by hand but you'll need a little elbow grease. (Some tips: If rolling by hand, rest the dough first for at least 30 minutes and roll from the centre outwards, trying to roll the dough in long strips).
- With a frilled pastry cutter, cut strips about 1-1 1/2 inches (3-4cm) thick and about a foot long (35cm). Fold each strip in half, lengthways, and pinch the strip together every 1-1/2 inches to create little pockets all along the strip.
- Roll the strip around itself to create a rose. Try to keep the pockets open, as you're winding the strip around—spaces and holes are necessary, in order to form the roses in a way that the pockets remain open. Pinch the pastry wherever you need to to hold the rose together. Some like to let the pastries air dry for several hours or even overnight before frying them—this will help them hold their shape.
- Heat a medium saucepan over a low-medium heat with enough oil to submerge the pastries. When a cube of bread takes 15 seconds to turn golden, you are ready to fry. Fry a couple of pastries at a time, until they are golden-brown, about 1 minute. Drain on paper towels and continue until they are all fried. Once drained and cooled, you can keep these fried pastries like this in an airtight container stored in a cool, dry place, for up to 2 weeks. When ready to serve, heat the honey and water in a medium saucepan and, once warm, place the pastries in the pan and coat both sides with the honey, then transfer to a plate. Continue until all the pastries are covered, and pour over any remaining honey. These are best when they have been honey-soaked for a few hours. Serve as is, or if you like, with a handful of sprinkles on top.
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