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Italian Fritters

Watch our historic foodways staff cook this recipe, then try it at home

If you like pancakes, this dish is for you. The addition of currants and fruit peel allows this to be eaten almost like a cookie. Easy to do; pleasing to the palate.

18th Century

Boil three or four ounces of rice very tender in milk; when it is pretty thick add a little salt, fine sugar to sweeten it according to taste, some preserved orange flowers, a little rasped lemon peel, a handful of flour, four eggs, three ounces of currants, and three good apples, peeled and minced; then put this preparation into hot lard with a spoon, each fritter to be about the bigness of a large nut; fry them of a good color, drain them upon a sieve, and strew a little fine powder-sugar over them, and serve them up as hot as possible.

— Dalrymple, George, “The Practice of Modern Cookery,” 1782.

Note: since orange flowers are almost impossible to get, you may simulate that flavor by adding a teaspoon of finely chopped candied orange peel or leave it out altogether as you please.

21st Century


  • 3 oz. white rice
  • 1 cup milk or cream
  • ½ cup water
  • Grated peel of one lemon
  • 2 medium sized apples
  • 3 oz. dried currants or raisins
  • 3 oz. flour
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • Powdered sugar for glazing


  1. In a saucepan, cook the rice in milk and water until thick and soft, stirring it frequently.
  2. In a mixing bowl, whip the eggs until light and add the sugar and flour to make a nice batter.
  3. Then add the cooked rice (cooled to room temperature) to the batter.
  4. Blend in the currants, apples and lemon peel and mix together very well.
  5. Drop this mixture by spoonfuls the size of a silver dollar into a frying pan of hot oil or lard. Fry them to a light brown color.
  6. Dust them lightly with powdered sugar and glaze them with a kitchen torch or on a cookie sheet under the broiler in your oven.
  7. Serve while still hot.

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Historic Foodways