The recipe of Graffe Napoletane is one of those you would like to make every day, these donuts have become the symbol of the holiday periods and not only of the carnival and all its fried delicacies but also of the Neapolitan pastry in general.
But what are Graffe and how can you make them at home? Do not worry. We will reveal all the secrets to making these delicious carnival donuts with your own hands. In reality, they are nothing but cousins of the legendary krapfen, born in Graz, in Styria, Austria, as early as 1600.
The name makes you guess that there is a certain kinship. And as always, Neapolitan pastry chefs have managed to rework, elevate and make simple leavened dough fritters become symbols of Italian street food.
It is not difficult to make them. The preparation of these desserts is straightforward, and no unique ingredients are required: they are all products that are always found in a kitchen.
What you need is time: the dough must rise slowly and for a long time so that the dough is swollen and soft when frying. Another thing that never hurts is a planetary mixer, the tool that every pastry lover must have.
Not only to save time and effort, but it is also necessary to make desserts well because the dough must be worked hard, for a long time, for at least 15, if not 20 minutes.
You can knead by hand, but no pastry chef does it, and neither should you if you want to obtain a perfect and elastic dough.
Ingredients and doses to make the real Neapolitan Graffe
To make 15 medium-sized Graffe, 10 cm in diameter
- 550 grams of flour 00
- 300 grams of Manitoba flour
- 150 grams of potato starch
- 14 grams of salt
- 60 grams of sugar
- 140 grams of butter
- 25 grams of brewer’s yeast
- 3 eggs
- 460 ml of whole milk
- 5 drops of vanilla essence
- 1 untreated organic lemon
- 6 cl of limoncello, vermouth, grappa, or sambuca
- 2 liters of sunflower oil for frying
- granulated or powdered sugar for sprinkling
How to make authentic Neapolitan Graffe
Dissolve the brewer’s yeast in a little warm milk with a spoonful of sugar: stir until completely dissolved.
Wash and grate the lemon and squeeze half of it. Many use the lemon flavor but don’t do it. It’s not that difficult to grate and squeeze a lemon.
Sift all the flours, mix them with the other dry ingredients, then place them in the mixer bowl. Add the milk, the eggs, the butter cut into small cubes, the yeast with the milk, the lemon juice and peel, the limoncello, and start kneading at low speed. At least 15 minutes. Take a book, and relax, while the planetary mixer works the dough.
Take the dough and make a ball, put it in a bowl, cover with a cloth and let it rest for 2 hours.
After two hours, take the dough and knead it on a well-floured cutting board, cut small pieces and form round donuts and while you’re at it, make the hole in the middle to give the classic donut shape. If you have difficulty working the dough and giving it the form of a donut, roll it out lightly with a rolling pin, then cut with a round mold and make the hole in the middle with a small mold or a glass. The thickness of the donuts should be at least 3 centimeters, so as they rise, they will swell, do not worry.
As you prepare the donuts, place them on a baking sheet, cover with a kitchen towel and let them rise for at least 3 hours.
When you are ready, heat 2 liters of sunflower oil in a saucepan, and when the oil reaches 170 degrees centigrade, dip into the staples and cook them. As soon as you immerse the first clips, raise the flame to compensate for the lowering of the temperature. Cook them for 3 minutes, then turn them over with a skimmer and another 2 minutes for the second side.
Drain on absorbent paper, dab to absorb excess grease, and sprinkle with plenty of granulated sugar.
What does adding potato to dough do?
Many also add two boiled potatoes to the dough. Honestly, potatoes are not needed if you knead the dough well and use high-quality flours. They don’t add exaggerated softness. And then there is already a good dose of potato starch, excellent for making the dough soft.
Which wine to pair with Neapolitan Graffe?
The most practical solution is to combine a sweet and fragrant sparkling wine such as Moscato. If you want to make a fantastic combination, opt for something more substantial such as sweet vermouth, port wine, Marsala, Madeira wine, Sherry, Brandy, Cognac, and Calvados.