Pettole from Puglia: original recipe and history

The Apulian breasts they are delicious pancakes, excellent as an appetizer and ideal for embellishing an aperitif. Easy to prepare and with a unique flavor, they have the scent of olives, which are found in the dough and are a perfect finger food to indulge in a tasty treat. Not surprisingly, they are often found at street food fairs and events.

How the Apulian breasts were born

The name “pettola” is believed to come from the Latin word “pitta“, which means “focaccia” but we are not certain about it. However, there are three stories about the birth of Apulianpettole.

The first tells of one Taranto woman that on Saint Cecilia’s day, after having prepared the dough for the bread, he forgot letting it rise beyond the expected time. Since he was no longer suitable for bread making, to avoid wasting the dough, he reduced it into balls which he decided to fry. After giving them to his sons, he called them “pettel“, that is small focaccia, since they seemed to resemble the focaccia which in the local dialect is called “pitta”.

A second version of the same legend tells that it was Saint Francis of Assisi to voluntarily distract the woman from the window as she passed by her house. A third story, however, says that the woman was actually intent on talking to a woman nearby and he didn’t realize, until late, that the dough had risen too much.

Regardless of which is the truthful version of the origin of the Apulian breasts, certainly we must consider that the people have always celebrated Christmas with fritterswhich require only water and flour but also theoliomore expensive and therefore reserved for special occasions.

Pettole from Puglia: original recipe

The Apulian chests are in fact pancakes and like many savory preparations the original recipe calls for pouring the farina in a bowl, form a cavity in the middle and crumble the yeast and it sugar. Once the warm water has been poured in, little by little, start kneading. When everything is amalgamated, just add the olive and the sale kneading everything energetically for at least 10 minutes until a soft and sticky dough is obtained.

The dough obtained must be left to rise in a warm place for at least 3 hours. After the necessary time, you need to heat the oil a 170° and spoon the mixture into it, a little at a time, browning it well. The breasts are ready to be drained when they become very swollen and are served hot on the plate.

The secrets for excellent Apulian breasts

The secret to excellent breasts is all in thedough which must be very soft and well leavened, so no hurry and no instant yeast: at most, you can replace fresh brewer’s yeast with dry brewer’s yeast. Only with the right leavening hours is it possible to have pancakes that are fragrant on the outside and soft on the inside.

Per fry the breasts it takes a bit of dexterity, but the simplest method is to take the dough with a spoon and put it in the hot oil. The fastest method, on the other hand, is to take the dough in one hand and make a ball out of it with the other and then drop it into the oil.

The breasts are eaten warm, freshly fried, but if left over they can be stored in a closed container and are also good the next day. They can be warmed up a bit in the microwave when they have reached room temperature.

The variants of Apulian breasts

There are several variations of the Apulian breasts, very similar in procedure and ingredients but which have spread to other Italian locations. An example are the Neapolitan salted zeppole, which unlike the Apulian fritters do not have olives and the dough is actually smooth.

They are called zeppole, they are salty but have a completely different shape: they are the Calabrian zeppole, filled in this case with anchovieswhich give them a very strong and decisive taste.

The chests are always prepared with the same dough, but they can be made sweets then putting them in sugar, honey or some people dip them in vincotto, especially during the Christmas period. Or again, a sweet version instead of anchovies has raisins inside.


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