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crispelle alla benedettina
Crispelle alla benedettina (Sicilian sweet fritters, rice balls flavored with orange zest, cinnamon and Marsala)
Originated from: Sicily
Occasion: Feast Day of Saint Joseph
Contributed by: Anna-Maria Benvenuto

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400 grams (about 14 ounces) of rice

1 liter (about 1 quart) of milk
2 ladles of water
100 grams (about 3 1/2 ounces) of sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder

100 grams (about 3 1/2 ounces) of white flour
Zest of 1 orange
3 eggs, beaten
1 shot of Marsala wine (1 1 /2 ounces)
1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Lard for deep frying

For coating
A jar of honey


Mix milk and two ladles of water.

Add salt, sugar and cinnamon.

Bring the mixture to boil and add the rice.

Cook the rice until it is soft.

Remove from heat and add the orange zest, flour, eggs and Marsala wine, and a pinch of white pepper.

Let the mixture cool.

Add the flour and form the dough into balls the size of small oranges.

Heat up the lard.

Fry the balls a few at a time.

Drain on absorbent paper.

Warm up the honey.

Dip the rice balls in the honey and remove.

Place the rice balls on a decorative container that has been lightly greased (to avoid sticking to the surface).


Mrs. Anna-Maria Benvenuto has collected hundreds of recipes from relatives, friends, and neighbors over the years. She recorded the recipes in Italian in numerous notebooks, often naming the recipe after the person who gave it to her. Mrs. Anna-Maria Benvenuto also copied recipes from Italian cookbooks, magazines and newspapers (The recipe in this entry was published in an Italian cookbook published in the early 1970s). Being an avid baker Mrs. Benvenuto tried out many of the recipes herself. However, because of her enormous talent and expertise, she did not feel the need to write detailed instructions as she knew how to make the recipes without them. However, when asked by this website's archivist (Mary Melfi) for details, she quickly volunteered the information. Nonetheless, as with most first generation Italian-Canadian handwritten recipes, it is understood that whoever attempts to duplicate them should have some knowledge of what they are doing.... N.B. A number of Italian websites describe "Crispelle alla Benedettina" as a pancake. However, Mrs. Benvenuto's cookbook indicated the dough should be shaped like a ball.... Photo: Mary Melfi

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