Oh, fried sweet milk! When I was a child and we went to the restaurant with my parents – which occurred quite seldom as the best restaurant was my granny’s home – I always wished them to order Genoese mixed fry-up (“fritto misto”). This is (and was) not a children-friendly plate actually. There are different kind of vegetables and different pieces of meat, among which some “difficult” ones such as brain. In addition to that a thick crunchy breadcrumb hides all these pieces deserving a surprise at each first bite.
But, BUT, in the midst of fritto misto an unpredictable small treasure is hidden: the fried sweet milk. Yes! Probably ancient Genoese cooks took in consideration also children when preparing this dish and so, among a cutlet and a piece of cauliflower, they fried also some soft, sweet, little cubes of thick and solid custard-like cream.
Those littles cubes were the one I pointed when the main plate arrived at the table of the restaurant, the ones that with anxiety and hurry I asked my mother to pick up for me, because the hotter the better, and the one I invariably argued for with my brother.
Even today, when I order fritto misto (as I actually did last time I went to the ancient Trattoria del Bruxaboschi) sweet milk cubes are the one I look for rummaging discreetly – but with a bit of apprehension, I admit – in the tray. I eat it immediately. Just so. Always so hot that the custard welling up from the breadcrumb burns my tongue. And while I blow out air in the remote hope to chill the bite in my mouth, my eyes stuck dreamy on the white smoke coming out from the other half remained – at half-mast – in my fingers.
Obviously is not strictly necessary accompanying fried sweet milk with meat and artichokes. You can prepare it as well alone, as a dessert or for a greedy break, generously dusted with sugar before serving. Indeed, this was the dessert traditionally closing the Christmas menus in the Genoese families.
Serafino Consigliere, a well know butcher and gastronome of Genoa (with whom I had the pleasure to cook few months ago, here the post) gave me the recipe you will find here. His granny run for decades one of the most famous traditional restaurant in Genoa, so the source is quite reliable!
Cook sweet milk folks! Even if you overate during Christmas holiday and you are on a diet for the upcoming summer. Do it. Not only for your children or grandchildren but also (mainly) for the small child hidden in your soul, he needs some cuddles to wake up!
- 8 eggs
- 200 g (1 cup) of granulated sugar
- 200 g (3,5 oz) all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 l (4 cups) of whole milk
- 1 organic lemon, its peel
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, powdered
- breadcrumbs, fine
- peanuts oil for frying
- Beat 2 eggs and 6 egg yolks (keep the egg whites for later) and the sugar in a big bowl. Add the sifted flour and then the milk little by little. Blend until the dough is smooth and homogeneous.
- Pour the mix in a saucepan, add the lemon peel and cook at low fire stirring continuously for 25 minutes or until you obtain a thick cream which starts detaching from the borders of the pan.
- Take the pan off the fire, remove the lemon peel, add the teaspoon of cinnamon and stir.
- Pour the cream in a greased or humid large plate with tall borders so to obtain a layer of ab. 2,5 cm (1 inch).
- Let the cream get cold for a couple of hours or until the cream gets firm.
- Stiffen the egg whites. Cut the cream, now solid, in squares of ab. 3 cm (1 inch) of side (or in the shape you prefer), deep the squares in the egg whites and then in the breadcrumbs.
- Fry the squares in boiling oil until golden. Drain and dry on absorbing paper.
- Dust with granulated sugar and serve very hot.
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