Chinese Fried Dim Sum? No! Italian Paste Cresciute!
Ladies and gentlemen, we're moving back to Italy after an extended tour of China. These lovely dumpling-y things frying in a wok are actually Neapolitan paste cresciute (raised dough). Valeria, our resident Neapolitan food expert, made a buffet dinner based on three varieties of paste cresciute. These first ones are plain, light and chewy on the inside crispy on the outside, to be served piping hot sprinkled with a bit of sea salt.
These babies are stuffed with a combination of ricotta, grated mozzarella and minced salami. Super rich and dead fabulous!
And finally these are plain paste cresciute, just like the ones up top but they're flattened out into disk shapes before being fried then topped with a simple tomato sauce and sprinkled with parmesan. Sooo good!
If you try this at home the filling/topping possibilities are limited only by your own imagination! Here's the recipe for the dough to start you out:
1 pkg dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/3 cup warm water (about 110-115F)
2 cups all-purpose or (ideally) bread flour. In Italy, choose 0 flour rather than 00.
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsps olive oil
oil for frying
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Allow to proof for 10-15 minutes until you see bubbly signs of life. If you see nothing, no foam at the top, you risk a failed recipe if you continue. Sift in the flour and combine with the water mixture. Mix until everything is uniform. Place dough on a board and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and rather elastic. Coat the bowl with the olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl and allow to rise for about 2 hours. Then separate the dough into 10 pieces and...
1.) roll into balls for the plain paste cresciute.
2.) For the filled ones, roll the balls into flat circles about 1/2 inch thick and place about 1 tbsp of filling into the center of each. Fold over and carefully pinch the edges. Make sure your filling is not runny or you risk exploding paste cresciute in your frying oil. Music to risk exploding paste cresciute by: "Season to Risk" by Jack Frost.
3.) roll the balls into disk shapes and prepare your tomato sauce for after the frying.
Heat a wok or other large pot with at least 2 inches of oil to 350F. Too cold and your dough will absorb too much oil, too hot and it will burn on the outside and be raw on the inside. Add the dough pieces one at a time and fry for a total of 4-5 minutes turning the pieces so they cook evenly. Remove and drain on paper towels. Enjoy!