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In this extra-special edition of The Dairy Show, Gina DePalma, the executive pastry chef at Babbo and author of Dolce Italiano, visits The Dairy Show kitchen and teaches us how to make her Dancing Ewe Caciotta Fritters, which are frequently on the menu at Babbo. Gina is a great supporter of local artisans and was fantastic to work with. This episode features a great recipe and is packed full of great tips.
For those of you that missed it, Dancing Ewe Farm was featured on the premiere episode of The Dairy Show. You can find their cheese's from March to October in Union Square on Friday's, and in Rhinebeck on Sundays. While they are most well know for their ricotta and aged sheep's milk cheeses, the caciotta is an excellent and versatile cheese. Gina's recipe below is one of the many ways to enjoy it.
Dancing Ewe Caciotta Fritters with Honey
From Gina DePalma
Makes 20 to 24 fritters, depending on size
1/2 cup water
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, cold
¼ teaspoon baking powder
4 oz. Dancing Ewe Caciotta, grated
2 Tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano
4 to 6 cups olive oil (not extra virgin) or canola oil for frying
Honey, to garnish
In a large saucepan, heat the water, butter, salt, pepper and sugar until the butter is melted and water is simmering. Add the flour all at once, and use a heat-resistant spatula to combine the flour and water into a thick paste. Lower the heat and cook the paste, spreading it along the bottom of the pan and gathering it up into a ball. Repeat this procedure for one minute, until the paste appears dull and dry and has begun to stick to the bottom of the pan.
Immediately transfer the paste to the bowl of an electric mixer, and using the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat the cold eggs in one at a time. Allow each egg to be fully incorporated into the dough before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the baking powder and continue to beat the dough until it is completely cool and stiff, then beat in the grated Caciotta and Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano.
Heat the 4 to 6 cups, or 6 inches of olive oil or canola oil to 360 °F in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or countertop deep fryer.
Drop the mixture by small teaspoonfuls into the hot oil, frying five to six fritters at a time. Turn the fritters in the oil often, allowing them to puff and brown. When the fritters are evenly golden brown, remove them from the oil and drain on a paper toweling.
Serve the fritters while hot with a generous drizzle of slightly warmed honey.