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Let's make it clear right away: gnocco fritto is not the traditional type of deep-fried dumpling made of flour, water and potatoes, nor does it resemble the Roman semolina dumpling. It is made from leavened and deep-fried bread dough. Similar types of deep-fried bread dumplings are also prepared in the rest of Italy, of course! Nearly every region claims having invented this dish, even if every one calls it by a different name. These tasty, golden, flour bubbles can turn any appetiser into a banquet. They combine with everything: salami, ham and any type of cheese, honey, mostarda and jam. You can even dip them into cappuccino. In short, you can eat them for lunch, dinner and breakfast. What else? Here is the Emilian recipe!
1kg/35oz pastry flour
0.25l/8.4 fl oz water
0.25l/8.4fl oz milk
2l/68fl oz frying oil
3 tbsps evo oil
Pour part of the water into a bowl and dissolve the salt. Set it aside. Heat the remaining water with the milk, to a 30°C/85°F temperature and dissolve the yeast. Knead the flour with the oil, then add the salted water. Knead all the ingredients. Let the dough rise, in the oven, after setting it on proofing mode: your dough will double in about 15 minutes.
Once the dough has leavened, roll it out till it is about 3mm/0.1in thick and cut several 8cm/3.1in lozenges with a pastry wheel cutter. Deep-fry them in hot oil for 30 seconds, until the lozenges swell and take a golden colour. When your dumplins are done, put them to dry on paper towels and pat them gently.
Serve them in a simple basket, accompanied by ham, salami, cheese or anything your imagination might suggest.