Croatian Fritters (Fritule)

Homemade fritters with sugar
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  • Total: 55 mins
  • Prep: 45 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 5 dozen (20 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
28 Calories
1g Fat
4g Carbs
1g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 5 dozen (20 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 28
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 1mg 0%
Sodium 26mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 1%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Protein 1g
Calcium 7mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Croatian fritters (fritule) are miniature doughnuts that are traditional along the Dalmatian coast. They are a favorite Croatian Christmas treat, as well as being eaten during Carnival season and Lent, the period before Easter. Today, they make a great breakfast or coffee snack and are served in many areas of Croatia.

This recipe is from Klara Cvitanovich, the co-owner of Drago's Restaurant in New Orleans and Metairie, Louisiana. They have been made by the Croatian Jurisich family for more than 100 years at the old Morning Call coffee stand that was formerly located in the French market. She says they may actually have been the inspiration for beignets in New Orleans.

The difference between fritule and beignets is that fritule usually contain citrus zest and raisins and often are flavored with rum or brandy, including the Croatian rakija brandy. The rum or brandy was said to keep the fritule from picking up too much cooking oil. This recipe leaves out the rum, so they can be served to everyone in the household regardless of age. You could include a few drops of rum or brandy flavoring or substitute 3 tablespoons of rum or brandy for 3 tablespoons of the water.

Ingredients

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins (dark)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (chopped)
  • 1 apple (tart, grated)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 3 to 4 cups water (room-temperature)
  • 3 cups oil (more or less as needed, for frying)
  • Optional: powdered sugar for dusting

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Grate the apple.

  3. Proof the yeast by dissolving it and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 cup of warm water (not over 110 degrees). When it foams, pour into a large bowl and add flour, salt, raisins, walnuts, grated apple, and zest, and mix well. Add 3 to 4 cups water, or as much as necessary to achieve a cake batter consistency. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the batter rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

  4. In a heavy-bottomed pan or Dutch oven, heat oil to 370 degrees. Carefully drop tablespoons of batter into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd. Fry until golden on the bottom. Turn over once to brown both sides.

  5. Remove the fritules with a slotted spoon onto layers of paper towels to drain. Repeat until batter is finished. Sprinkle fritule with powdered sugar while still hot, if desired.

  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Serve the fritule with coffee or tea as a snack. They are best when hot and fresh, so you really can't make them in advance and have the same result.

Tips

  • Controlling the oil temperature is critical. If it is too hot the fritule will burn, but if the oil temperature is too low they will absorb the oil. Before you place several dough balls into the oil, test the temperature by frying just one to see how it comes out, and adjust the temperature accordingly. Adding too many dough balls at once will bring the oil temperature down, so take that into consideration.
  • Dusting with powdered sugar can create a mess. Try placing some powdered sugar in a brown paper or plastic bag. Add the hot fritters to the bag and shake. Remove them with tongs.