Ingredients for the dough:
1000g PLAIN FLOUR (=35,27oz=8 cups)
500g FRESH WHOLE MILK (=17,64oz=2 cups)
120g WATER (=4,23oz=½ cup)
2 teaspoons TABLE SALT (=12g=0,42oz)
1 cube FRESH YEAST (=25g=0,88oz)
1 teaspoon SUGAR (=6g=0,21oz)
Ingredients for filling:
200g TOMATO SAUCE (=7,05oz=¾ CUP)
3 MOZZARELLA (=125g=4,41oz each)
200g COOKED HAM (=7,05oz)
Ingredients for frying:
about 2000g PEANUT SEED OIL (=70,55oz=9 ⅛ cups)
Cut the mozzarella into chunks and leave it to drain.
Prepare the dough. Mix flour and salt.
Warm milk and water up in a saucepan over low heat until lukewarm (just a few seconds: they don’t have to be too hot).
Crumble the yeast with your hands and dissolve it with 70g (=2,47oz=¼ cup) of warm liquid, then add sugar and mix. Combine all liquids with flour and knead vigorously. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
Lay the dough in a large hermetic bowl placed away from drafts (the oven always turns out to be the ideal place) and leave it to rise for about 1 hour and a half (the dough must double, but it needs to be worked as soon as it leavens without letting it grow too much).
After the resting period (about 1.5 hours), flour a pastry board and cut a piece of dough. Roll a strip with a pasta machine (or with a rolling pin) until you get a thickness of about 2-3mm.
Lay about half teaspoon of tomato sauce in the middle of the strip along an imaginary horizontal line, leaving some empty space between one filling and the following one. Lay the mozzarella wrapped in a little cooked ham on top of the sauce.
Fold the pasta sheet so as to completely cover the filling, making sure to seal well so to prevent the filling from leaking during frying. Then cut into half-moon shape. You can re-use the scraps of the strip before, mixing them with the following piece of dough.
Start frying panzerotti while making them.
Pour peanut seed oil in a high-sided saucepan (about ø 20-24 cm). Do not use steel and make sure to have half pot filled with oil as panzerotti have to be able to float in.
Bring oil to a temperature of 170°C (=338°F), then plunge 2-3 pieces. Fry them for about 1.5 minutes each side, turning them with a perforated spoon. Drain them with the perforated spoon and lay them on a rack to make sure they lose the excess oil.
Keep checking the temperature with a kitchen thermometer and make sure it doesn’t increase: if it does, remove the saucepan from the fire to lower it (or panzerotti will brown outside but will not cook inside). Keep frying as soon as panzerotti have been shaped, plunging maximum 2-3 at a time.
Remove panzerotti from the rack and lay them in a tray covered with kitchen paper.
Panzerotti are a typical Apulian recipe appreciated throughout Italy. Apparently similar to calzoni, once fried they are a real treat!
Don’t forget that the panzerotti dough recipe is the same one as for torta fritta: you will only need to roll out the dough thinner (about 1.5 mm) and cut out rectangles of unfilled dough!
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