True Pettole or pittule pugliesi are balls of very soft leavened dough, fried in hot oil, typical of Apulia.
They can be rustic or sweet, simple or filled and are often used as a substitute of bread, or as an appetizer, or as a dessert.
Salty filling: the filling of salty pettole can be of various flavors and accompaniments: with anchovies (about 15 cut into small pieces), with tomato sauce in pieces, with cod (300 g of fillets boiled and cut into chunks), with turnips ‘stewed’, with tuna and capers or simple.
Sweet filling: the filling of sweet pettole can be of various flavors and accompaniments: with granulated sugar, with raisins and pine nuts, with powdered sugar, with honey, with caramel, with melted chocolate, with cooked wine.
These are the real original Pettole Pugliesi, seasoned with tomato, which have always accompanied my Christmas celebrations.
- 3 cups + 2 tbsp of all purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tsp of fine salt
- 4.5 tsp of brewer’s yeast
- 400 ml of lukewarm sparkling water
- seed oil for frying
- chopped peeled tomatoes or other filling (optional)
Mix in a large bowl the flour, the yeast dissolved in a little water, the oil, the salt and the carbonated water (it is important that it is carbonated because it becomes soft when fried).
Knead the mass well for 10 minutes.
It is important that the mixture is soft, almost like a batter.
If you want them filled, add the filling before letting them rise (I made them with tomato).
Let it rise until you see bubbles appear on the surface of the dough (about 2 hours).
If you prefer sourdough, you’ll need to use about 7 oz, then leave the dough to rise for 4-5 hours.
At this point, fill a pan with a generous amount of seed oil and put it to heat on the fire.
After that, put a hand in the dough and squeeze it in your fist, making a little ball come out from your thumb and index finger and you will take it with the other hand and dip it in the hot oil to fry it.
If you are not practical, you can use the help of two spoons, tearing small pieces of dough from the mass. In the hot oil they will take the form of light and fluffy balls: the pettole.
PETTOLE: SAVOURY AND FRIED DOUGH BALLS