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Isolation Eats: Craig Harding's cacio e pepe fritters

La Palma's Craig Harding has been hiding out in his Muskoka home during quarantine. Here he shares a cheesy spin on an Italian classic; cacio e pepe fritelles. 

Serves 1

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 10 minutes

In our new series, Isolation Eats, we ask chefs and bartenders around the city what they're making and shaking in quarantine. Craig Harding, chef-owner at La Palma and Constantine, shows us a spin on an Italian classic that can be flavoured any way you want and freezes well.

"This recipe is a twist on the parmesan gougeres we used to serve at Campagnolo. For these cacio e pepe fritters, we're making a simple dough (choux paste with asiago and pecorino) which is then deep fried in a shallow pot of oil – or baked if you prefer. You can adapt this however you like, adding herbs or spices. Plus, it freezes well so you can save some for another time." – Craig Harding.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup milk
  • 4 oz of butter
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup asiago cheese
  • ¼ cup pecorino cheese (extra for finishing)
  • 1L vegetable oil (for deep-frying)
  • a good dose of freshly ground black pepper
  • a pinch of nutmeg

Method

  1. In a small sauce pan melt the butter in the milk and water and slowly add the flour until a dough forms. Cook over medium heat for 2 minutes until it dries and pulls away from the sides of the pot.
  2. Cool for 3 minutes. Pull out your trusty stand mixer and whip with the paddle attachment, adding 1 egg at a time until incorporated.
  3. Add the cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
  4. In a small sauce pot, heat 1L of vegetable oil to 375 F.
  5. Using two spoons, gently drop the dough into the heated oil and fry until golden brown. Finish with extra pecorino and fresh black pepper.  
  6. Alternatively you can transfer dough to a piping bag and pipe small tablespoon size portions 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 F for approximately 20 minutes and finish the same way. The baked version will freeze quite well, so why not try both cooking methods?
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