Crema Fritta or fried cream is a popular street food in Venice and you will sometimes see fried
cream referred to as Crema Fritta alla Veneziana, although it is served in other regions of Italy.
Crema fritta consists of a custard that is chilled until firm, and then cut into small shapes,
coated with bread crumbs, and fried. They are crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or cinnamon-sugar and serve them while they're still warm.
4 cups whole milk
1-1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup flour
1-1/2 cups plain dried bread crumbs
4 egg whites
Vegetable oil for frying
Confectioners' sugar or cinnamon-sugar
To make the custard:
Put the milk to a saucepan. Add the flour, sugar, and salt and whisk into the
milk until well combined and there are no lumps. Put the egg yolks in a small
bowl. Add the vanilla to the yolks and stir to break up the yolks. Whisk the
yolks into the milk mixture.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a simmer, whisking
constantly. Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue whisking as the
mixture starts to thicken. Cook the custard for 5 minutes, continuing to whisk.
The custard will be very thick and creamy but not stiff. Remove the saucepan
from the heat.
Grease a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Pour the hot
custard into the dish and spread to an even thickness of about 1-inch. Allow to
cool at room temperature. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to
3 hours or overnight.
To fry the custard:
Place the flour on a plate, the bread crumbs on another plate, and whisk the
egg whites in a shallow bowl. Put vegetable oil in a wide skillet to a depth of
1/4 to 1/2-inch. Heat the oil over medium-high heat.
With a sharp knife, cut the chilled custard into squares, diamonds, or
rectangles, about 1-1/2 to 2 inches on each side. Lift them from the dish with
a small spatula (an offset spatula works well.) Coat the custard shapes with
the flour, then egg whites, then bread crumbs, handling them gently. Place a
few pieces in the hot oil without crowding. Fry for 1 to 2 minutes on each side,
until golden brown. Lower the heat if the crumbs are browning too quickly.
Transfer the fried creams to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Allow the creams to cool for just a few minutes, then sprinkle with
confectioners' sugar or cinnamon-sugar. To make cinnamon sugar, combine 3
tablespoons of granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Serve warm.
Some of the creams might open a little during frying and some of the cream
may leak out. Although this can't be completely avoided, it does help to be
sure that the custard is completely coated before frying. Also, if the oil gets
too 'muddy' from the leaking cream, simply strain it and return it to the skillet
to continue frying the creams.