Chanukah came and went so fast this year! This past Sunday, I hosted my family for a dinner party at my home, and I got a chance to use a recipe that was given to me. I treasure this recipe – it is from a very lovely lady named Simone, and it is her own personal recipe. Just like any good, heirloom recipe, the measurements were not exact, so I had to tinker a little to get it to where it needed to be.
Oreillettes means ‘little pillows’ in French (I have also seen it translated as ‘ little pig ears’, but little pillows sounds so much nicer, I think!). I originally saw a recipe for this dessert in Richard Olney’s ‘Provence the Beautiful’ cookbook and really wanted to make it. Since I had an unpleasant experience making a dessert from there previously, I went to someone I knew who was expert in French cuisine for their recipe.
The dough is silky smooth, and a dream to roll and cut. When placed into hot oil, they puff up almost immediately. Dusted with sugar, this Provencal treat is considered by many as the ‘sweet lover’s potato chip’. I can see why – they are so light and airy, you could eat handfuls at one time, just like potato chips!
This recipe as is makes several dozen – halve the recipe if you are only making for yourself or a few people!
9 C flour
1 1/4 C almond milk (can also use regular milk)
3 stick margarine, melted (can also use butter)
2 pinches salt
Zest from 2 oranges
3 tsp rum
confectioner’s or icing sugar for coating ( I used regular sugar because that is what I had)
36 oz of cottonseed or peanut oil for frying
In a large bowl, add the flour and make a well in the center. Add half of the melted margarine, and work the flour in slowly, bringing from the outside in, going around the bowl. When all incorporated, add the eggs and knead together. To the remainder of the melted margarine, add the salt, rum, almond milk, and zest, mix lightly. Transfer dough to mixer with hook attachment. On low speed add the rest of the melted margarine. Mix on low speed til dough is extremely soft and silky to the touch. Leave dough rest in a covered bowl in warm place for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, take dough and cut in half, working with one piece at a time, keeping the other piece in a covered bowl. At this point heat oil in heavy pot or pan. Roll the dough as thinly as possibly, and cut into strips, then on a diagonal to make diamonds.
When oil is hot add 8-10 little pieces at a time. Test with a tiny piece of dough first- if it sinks and stays at the bottom it is not hot enough. If it sinks and pops up right away, it is ready for frying. Fry for about 2 mins, til you see holes form on the pieces. Remove with slotted spoon to paper-towel covered tray, dust generously with sugar and serve immediately.