One of the pastimes I most miss on this journey is flicking through new recipe books – borrowed from the library of course – and trying out nrew recipes. I am in the midst of a Nigella deaddiction, but I often find recipes that I can easily convert, with a little help from my friends in the failsafe world. Nigella calls stroffoli the croqeumboche of Italy, you could consider them the mini-gulabjamuns of Italy, but in this recipe I converted them to be a failsafe treat. Its is also easier as there is no rolling of 200 marble sized balls etc etc.
So here it is
Start with the sugar syrup. The original recipe says warmed honey, but honey is not allowed for kids with salicylate sensitivities.
Take 1 cup of brown sugar, add 1/2 cup of water and heat it on a medium heat. Mix it till the sugar is dissolved, and then turn the heat down and let it simmer and thicken up. Don’t stress about getting it to any string consistency, just let it thicken up for as long as you are frying. Of course, if you insist, you can use thermometers, string tests etc, I just can’t be bothered, because the kids will inhale this!
For the mini dumplings:
In a largish bowl mix 1 cup of fine white rice flour, 1 cup or tapioca flour or arrowroot, 1 tsp of Xanthan gum, 2 tsp of baking powder and a pinch of salt. Add a cup of rice milk, a quarter cup at a time and mix, until you have thick white batter, you m ay have to add more rice milk. The batter needs to have the consistency of vada mix or a thick dosa mix – that is thicker than pancakes, but not as thin as double cream.
Heat a couple of cups worth of sunflower oil in a wok or kadai or large pan. When it is shimmering but not smoking, drop in a teaspoon of the dough. It should start cooking immediately. Add about 10 more dumplings, I use two teaspoons, one to measure out, and the other to scrape it into the oil.
Turn them briskly about at first, and then let the get a warm golden colour. Lift out and drain on kitchen towel. ( Beat off any hovering vultures).
The amount I’ve given will take about 4 sets of dumplings, depending on how impatient you get, but don’t crowd them, and drop stress about them getting too round. If the dumplings start exploding with cracks appearing, turn down the heat.
Dont forget to keep stirring the sugar syrup.
By about this time the smell of the dumplings and the sugar syrup will cause a stampede to the kitchen. Warn them about how hot the interior of the dumplings are and continue to beat them off. ( The kids, not the dumplings).
Once the dumplings are all fried, pour the sugar syrup into a wide, flat plate with a rim allow it to cool slightly. Then gently tip the dumplings into the syrup and roll them around.
By this time, you can give up on the vultures, and leave them to it!
Note: This recipe is an amalgam of Nigella Lawsons Strofoli in her book “Nigellissima” and Kerstens doughnuts from her book available here.
You should of course go out and buy both books!