Pettole, traditional Apulian balls of fried risen dough, a speciality much favoured at Christmas, mostly served as a savoury starter filled with anchovies, however you can experiment with olives, sun-dried tomatoes, chopped broccoli rabe.

Makes about 20, Prep 20 mins plus two hours for the dough to rise, Cook 20 mins

  • 500g Italian 00 durum wheat flour or all-purpose plain flour, sifted
  • 30g anchovy fillets in olive oil, chopped
  • 12 g fresh yeast (17gm of dried yeast)
  • 350ml lukewarm water
  • Half a teaspoon of salt
  • Olive Oil or EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Peanut Oil for deep-frying


In a large bowl combine sifted flour, yeast and lukewarm water, mix with a wooden spoon, add salt, mix again. Now mix with your hands 20 minutes until you get a smooth pliable dough. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen cloth or clingfilm, leave to rise in a warm place 2 hours or until it doubles in size.

Add chopped anchovies to the dough, kneading just enough to spread it evenly. Do not overwork the dough as you will knock the air out.

Heat the oil in a deep frying- pan.

Clench a portion of the dough in your fist and squeeze it through the small space between your index finger and thumb. It will pop out as a little sphere which you pinch at the base to detach from the rest. When you have three or four, plunge them into the oil for a couple of minutes to fry until golden brown.

Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon, place on kitchen paper and serve.

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