A very famous tradition in Tuscany wants that, delicious rice fritters are prepared on March 19, on the day we celebrate St. Joseph and so Father’s day in Italy. They are small sweet balls typical of our region made of rice, milk, flour and sugar fried in hot oil. The tradition of a fried dish to celebrate St. Joseph is actually widespread all around Italy (in Sicily they prepare a savoury version of pancakes with ricotta and anchovy fillets, while in Campania and Puglia they make donuts stuffed with cream and garnished with black cherry), because, according to an old legend, Joseph, Jesus’s putative father, worked as a woodworker and as a fryer too.
We are sure that in Tuscany these sweet rice fritters have been prepared for centuries and the first historical references can be found in the book “Libro de arte coquinaria” by Maestro Martino de’ Rossi, which explains the recipe (we are talking about 15th century). Also in Poggio al Bosco, to respect the tradition, every year we celebrate Father’s Day preparing and eating the “St. Joseph’s fritters”. Here the recipe of Nonna Maria.
The recipe of St. Joseph’s fritters
Ingredients: 200 grams of rice (Originario, Maratelli or Parboiled), 1 litre of milk, 2 eggs, 100 grams of flour, 50 grams of butter, 2 spoons of Vin Santo, 1 little spoon of bicarbonate, 2 lemons, sugar, salt, frying oil.
Method: Boil the milk with a pinch of salt, throw in the rice and, after a few minutes, add the butter, 50 grams of sugar and the grated last of the lemons. Cook well (the milk must be completely absorbed), remove from the heat and let the rice cool down; now add the egg yolks, bicarbonate, flour and Vin Santo. Mix well and, before frying, add the whipped egg whites. Take a little of the mixture with the help of a spoon and fry in hot oil until the entire surface of the fritters will be golden brown.
Serve them still hot (but they are also delicious cold), sprinkled with granulated sugar with a little glass of our Vin Santo del Chianti DOC Reserve that you could find clicking here 😋
Do you want to know a funny story? It seems that in the past, sweet rice fritters were also a reason for a challenge: Tuscan families used to prepare them and then they used to exchange them with each other to prove their skills. So you just have to try our recipe and challenge yourself with fritters!