Espresso Ricotta Fritters for Shavuot
In New York, winter has given way to spring, then back to winter, then suddenly to summer. As I write this, we are experiencing a beautiful spring again. This means Shavuot is coming up!
My parents taught me when I was growing up that no one knows when Shavuot actually is; every year it's the day that their respective parents take them shopping in the Lower East Side but everything is unexpectedly closed for the holiday.
As an adult(ish) person, I have discovered that quite a few people do know when Shavuot is. As a holiday, it represents the giving of the Torah and the wheat harvest, happening simultaneously. During the holiday people stay up all night studying Torah; many congregations and groups have retreats and events to fulfill this practice, learn, and have fun together.
Shavuot is also a time to eat a lot of dairy foods, another practice with somewhat murky origins (in the typical Jewish fashion). Some say it’s because of dietary practice and Jewish people learning their meat wasn’t kosher––some say it’s because of scripture describing the “land of milk and honey.”
In this recipe, I’ve mixed espresso into a dairy Ricotta Fritter recipe to blend the caffeine sometimes needed for the all-night studying with the traditional Shavuot practice of eating a lot of dairy.
Initially inspired by a recipe in Plenty More, now adapted.
2 cups part-skim ricotta
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ cup espresso, or 2 tablespoons ground instant espresso
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 cups oil (I recommend something with a low saturated fat content like Canola or Sunflower)
Makes about 24 fritters
To keep you company while you’re baking, I suggest you watch the new-ish BBC America show Killing Eve if you’re into weird, sexy shows about murder and if someone else is home (assuming you’re easily creeped out, which I am). Otherwise, I’d recommend you make these while watching Thor: Ragnarok––it’s so good, you guys.
The batter is fairly simple. Dealing with frying oil is the only vaguely difficult part. You also don’t need a lot of specialty materials, and if you don’t have a stand mixer, you can always hand mix.
First, mix together ricotta and sugar until fully combined.
Add in eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated. Pour in and blend vanilla extract and liquid espresso, if using.
Separately mix your dry ingredients together––flour, baking powder, salt, and if you’re not using liquid, espresso powder.
Slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the ricotta mixture, being careful not to overmix.
You’ve finished your batter! Set that aside to get the oil started.
Pour the oil into a saucepan that you trust (if you have one that sometimes splatters, set it aside to avoid burning yourself with oil). Pour in 2-3 inches of oil and heat to 350° over a medium flame. Ideally, you can use a kitchen thermometer to test the temperature.
If you don’t have a thermometer, some tricks I’ve read about are to dip the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil to see if the oil quickly bubbles up around it, or to put a piece of bread inside and see if it browns in about one minute.
Put a plate or platter next to your stove with a lot of paper towels to handle fritters once they’re out of the pan.
When your oil is ready, it’s fry time. Gently place tablespoons of dough into your pan. I’d recommend doing a test fritter before putting in a whole batch and not overcrowding the pan. If they dissolve or fall apart, they may need to be chilled or you can add a small amount of flour until they hold together better. If they immediately turn brown, turn down the temperature. Unless you’re using a deep fryer with regulated temperature control, frying involves some amount of playing around with the stove temperature.
Fry the fritters for 4 minutes until they are golden in color. If they seem to be browning much faster, turn the burner down to low.
Use a slotted spoon to take the fritters out of the pan and put onto your paper towel-lined plate. Cover with another layer of paper towels for the next batch, and then it’s time to do it all over again until you’ve used up the dough.
To dispose of the oil, I pour it into an empty water battle or the original oil container if it is empty, then throw away.
Sprinkle the fritters with some powdered sugar and cinnamon or chocolate sauce if your heart so moves you, otherwise go ahead and start eating them right away.
Enjoy, and Chag Sameach!
How to cite this page
Yelsey , Lisa. "Espresso Ricotta Fritters for Shavuot." 16 May 2018. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on August 7, 2020) <https://jwa.org/blog/espresso-ricotta-fritters-for-shavuot>.