Italian Regional Recipes Starters

Pettole – Christmas Fritters from Apulia

My father’s family is from Apulia, a region in the sunny south of Italy, and so following the Apulian tradition, Christmas time was always celebrated with the preparation of these scrummy and versatile fritters.

Our favourite Pettole are these savoury ones with anchovies – but they can also be prepared without any additional ingredients, or even enjoyed as a dessert by just sprinkling some sugar on top of the Pettole before serving them.

But be quick in grabbing some as soon as they hit the table – they will be gone in a jiffy!

Makes about 15| Preparation time: 20 mins + 2 h rising for the dough | Cooking time: 20 mins

  • Italian Flour “00” / all-purpose flour/plain flour: 500 g
  • Anchovies, in olive oil: 30 g
  • Brewer’s yeast: 12 g
  • Lukewarm Water: 350 ml
  • Salt: ½ tsp
  • Extra Virgin Olive oil or Seeds oil for deep-frying


In a deep and large bowl mix the flour with the salt, the yeast and the water. Make sure to use lukewarm water to activate the yeast. Whisk the dough with your hands for a good 20 minutes, or until the dough is silky, smooth and quite runny. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen cloth or with clingfilm and leave it to rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Drain the anchovies from the oil and chop them roughly. Add the anchovies to the dough, then grease your hands with a bit of olive oil and knead the dough a little, just about enough to spread the anchovies evenly. Don’t knead the dough too much, or it will flatten.

Put on the stove a deep saucepan full of Evoo or Seeds oil and wait for the oil to be hot enough before deep-frying Pettole.

To give your Pettole the perfect round shape, clench a bit of dough in your fist and squeeze it through the small space between your index finger and your thumb. The dough will come out of your fist in a little sphere; pinch it at the base to detach it from the rest of the dough and let it gently fall in the oil.

Once Pettole are golden and evenly fried, remove them from the oil with a skimmer and put them on a plate lined with kitchen paper to absorb some of the oil.

Pettole are ready to be enjoyed!

Tip: You can also play a little with this recipe and prepare your pettole with a variety of ingredients: olives, sun dried tomatoes, parsley, broccoli rabe… the sky’s the limit! Just make sure to add your ingredients after the dough has risen, and not before, or else you will stunt its growth.

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