A reader reciently requested that I find a Calabrian fried treat drizzled wiht honey, and guess what, I found it! Grispelle is a yeast raised doughnut made with sweet potatoes and tradtionaly served during Christmas. My thanks to Rosetta Costantino for sharing this recipe with us! Please check out her book My Calabria.
(Warm Christmas Doughnuts) Makes about 15 grispelle
1 pound yellow fleshed sweet potatoes (1 large or 2 small), unpeeled
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Vegetable oil for frying
Honey for serving, optional
A ricer or food mill fitted with a medium blade
Put the whole sweet potatoes in a large pot that will hold them comfortably.
Cover with 1 inch of cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until the sweet potatoes can be easily pierced with a fork, 30 to 40 minutes.
Drain them and set aside until cool enough to handle, then peel.
Using a ricer or a food mill fitted with a medium blade, pass the sweet potatoes into a large bowl.
Put the lukewarm water in a small bowl and add the yeast. Whisk with a fork until the yeast dissolves.
Add the flour and salt to the potatoes, then add the water with the dissolved yeast.
Combine the ingredients with your hand until they come together into a sticky dough, then knead in the bowl, using one hand to steady the bowl and one hand to knead, until the dough is smooth and well blended, about 5 minutes.
It will still be moist and a little sticky. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside until the dough doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
Put 1/2 inch of vegetable oil in a 10-inch skillet and heat over medium-high heat until the oil registers 375 F on a candy thermometer.
Oil your hands lightly, then take a golf ball-size piece of dough from the bowl and stretch it between your hands into a thick "sausage" about 8 inches long and 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide.
The dough is pliable and will elongate easily.
Carefully place that dough in the hot oil, then continue shaping and frying grispelle until you have four or five grispelle in the skillet.
Cook until the underside is a deep golden brown, then flip the grispelle with tongs and brown the other side. Total cooking time is about three minutes.
Transfer the grispelle to a tray lined with paper towels. Repeat the shaping and frying until you have used all the dough.
Add more vegetable oil if necessary to keep the level at 1/2 inch.
Serve the grispelle warm, with honey for dipping.