Calabria is located in the tip of the the Italian boot.  Over the years, Calabria was occupied by a variety of conquerors from many nations that left their influence on Calabrian food, traditions, and customs.

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Italian Christmas Doughnuts
(Makes 12 to 15 doughnuts)
Grispelle - Italian Christmas Doughnuts
Grispelle are fried potato doughnuts which come from Calabria where they are a special
Christmas treat.  You can use white potatoes or sweet potatoes in this recipe.  Add the
flour a little at a time until you get a soft dough; how much flour you need will depend on
the amount of moisture in the potatoes. Grispelle can be shaped in rings or long batons,
whichever you prefer. They are best served while still warm and dusted with confectioners’
sugar, a cinnamon-sugar blend, or with a bowl of honey for dipping.

12 to 16 ounces of potatoes (white or sweet)
1/4 cup warm water, 105-115 degrees F.
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Vegetable oil for frying


Peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch chunks.  Put them in a saucepan with enough water to cover the potatoes.  Bring the water to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes or until tender.  Drain and allow the potatoes to cool for 10-15 minutes.  Use a ricer or mash the potatoes into a bowl; set aside.

Combine the yeast and warm water in a small bowl.
Set aside until the mixture starts to bubble, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup of flour, the sugar, salt, and nutmeg to the potatoes.  Add the dissolved yeast and water.  Use a wooden spoon to blend the ingredients.
Gradually add the remaining flour until a soft dough forms.  The dough should still be a little sticky and not too dry.  Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel.
Set it aside until the dough doubles in size, about 1-1/2 hours.

Punch the dough down.
Wet your hands and divide the dough into 12 to 15 balls, about 2-inches in diameter.  Keep you hands moistened throughout the process to keep the   dough from sticking.  Roll each dough ball between the palms of your hands to form a rod about 8 inches long.  Bring the 2 ends together to form a ring; press together gently.  Place the dough rings on a lightly floured board or baking sheet.

Pour about 1-inch of vegetable oil into a large skillet.  Heat the oil to about 375 degrees F. over medium-high heat.  Place the dough rings, a few at a time, into the hot oil.  Fry until both sides are a deep golden brown, about 2-3 minutes total.  Transfer the fried grispelle to a paper-towel lined plate.  Dust the warm doughnuts with confectioners’ sugar.  You can also roll them in a mixture or cinnamon-sugar or serve them with honey.
Grispelle - Italian Christmas Doughnuts
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