At Vallebona, a tiny old village in the backcountry of Bordighera – west Italian Riviera – sweet fritters ( bugie in Italian, bouxie in dialect) are a traditional recipes prepared not at Carnival (as it is usual in many Italian places, Genoa included) but at the end of the Spring.
This sweet in fact was (and still is) usually prepared to celebrate the harvest of bitter orange blossoms whereby orange blossom water – the hero of this recipe – is produced in Vallebona since ages.
Orange blossom water today is a Slow Food presidia. Just one historical producer, La Vecchia Distilleria, thanks to the determination of the young Pietro Guglielmi, succeeded to survive tree frosts and the chemical industries overwhelming competition and today continues distilling this refreshing and seductive fragrance exactly as centuries ago.
As at home is tradition to cook bugie at Carnival – actually my granny used to prepare mountains of bugie for us and for our friends – and I have a deep passion for orange blossom water, this is the recipe of the moment in my kitchen.
These fritters with orange blossom water are a bit different from those prepared in other parts of Italy. They have straight borders and the dough is a little bit thicker (no bubbles will appear on the surface during frying). Once fried they must be immediately flood with orange blossom water (use a spray) and generously dusted with granulated sugar.
You will see: at each bite the sugar will creak under your teeth while the flowery and seductive orange blossom water will caresses your nostrils making you feel in the middle of a lawn at spring time. You will never stop eating them!!
Did I convinced you? Unfortunately La Vecchia Distilleria does not shop online and by the way they already finished the last year production, sigh. Their orange blossom water is so excellent that the stocks end in a couple of months! But if you want to prepare this fritters with orange blossom water no problem! I saw that Amazon sells it but be careful not to buy the essence of orange blossoms, Neroli, which is used as a perfume and is too strong for cooking!
- 2 cups (250 g) of all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 4 tablespoons (50 g) of sugar, granulated
- 2 tablespoons (15g) of extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons (60 cl) of orange blossom water o dry white wine
- a pinch of salt
- ½ teaspoon (1 g) of baking powder
- In addition
- 1 bottle of peanuts oil for frying
- orange blossom water t.t.
- granulated sugar to garnish
- In a big bowl by hands (or with a kneading machine) knead all the ingredients together until the dough is perfectly smooth, consistent and silky.
- Leave the dough laying wrapped in cooking paper or at least half an hour (you can keep the dough in the fridge for a day as well).
- Roll the dough with a rolling pin until you obtain a layer of ab 1 millimetre.
- Heat the peanuts oil in a frying pan up to 350-355°F (175-180°C)
- With a pasta cutter cut the dough in small squares or rectangles of about 1 inch border and fry them immediately after (the dough shall not dry) turning them at least once to golden uniformly.
- Dry your - bugie - from the oil, spray on their surface plenty of orange blossom water and, immediately after, generously dust with granulated sugar.
- You can eat them hot and cold as well.
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