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Ricotta-filled Half-moons

From Italian Cooking and Living, February/March 2002

For the dough:
  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cubed
  • grated zest of 1 orange
  • grated zest of 1/2 lemon
For the filling:
  • 5 ounces firm fresh ricotta
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
To fry and serve:
  • 3 cups extra-virgin olive oil or peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Make the dough: Pour the flour on a counter and mix in the salt and granulated sugar; make a well in the center and add the egg, butter, orange and lemon zests to the well (steps 1 and 2). With your fingers, work the wet ingredients into the flour, adding enough room-temperature water to form a smooth, supple, firm dough (about 1/2 cup). Knead 5 minutes, adding a little water if the dough is dry or a little flour if it is sticky. Shape into a ball, wrap, and let rest 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the filling: Stir the ingredients together in a bowl (steps 3 and 4); do not overbeat or the ricotta will liquefy (step 5). Refrigerate until needed.

cookie cutter (step 6). Working with one disk at a time, spoon a dollop of the filling over each disk (step 7); fold in half to enclose, forming a half-moon, and seal the edges with your fingers to prevent the filling from leaking out. Crimp the edges with a fork (step 8). Arrange on a lightly floured tray in a single layer. To fry, heat the oil until it registers 350 on a candy thermometer. Fry a few half-moons at a time until golden on both sides, about 1 minute per side (step 9). Remove with a slotted spoon to a platter lined with paper towels and blot dry. Continue with the remaining half-moons.

To serve, combine the confectioner's sugar and cinnamon and dust over the fritters (step 10). Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature. Makes about 30 half-moons.

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