Traditionally from Puglia, this dish is little known in Australia yet it’s a popular Italian snack. Filled with savoury or sweet combinations, panzerotti are deep fried until golden and ever so satisfying. Let your creative side determine the filling or use a more traditional filling listed below.
- 25 g fresh yeast
- 10 g caster sugar
- 500 ml (2 cups) lukewarm water
- 20 g salt
- 500 g '00' flour
- 500 g strong plain flour (see Note)
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- grapeseed oil for deep frying
Filling (see note)
- 200 g vine ripened tomatoes, halved, sliced
- 150 g buffalo mozzarella
- 10 basil leaves
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 2 hours
The following recipe has been tested and edited by SBS Food and may differ slightly from the podcast.
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in ½ cup of the warm water. Add the salt to the remaining water and stir to dissolve. Combine the flours in a large bowl. Add the yeast mixture and the salted water to the flour and mix until a soft dough begins to form. Add the olive oil and mix until incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth.
Divide the dough in 20 x 80 g balls. Arrange the balls 5 cm apart on 2 lightly floured trays. Cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow to prove in a warm place until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Gently press each ball out to a 12 cm ball, as you would a pizza base, trying to maintain the air in the dough. Place a few slices of tomato and mozzarella in the centre of the circle. Season to taste and top with a basil leaf. Lightly brush the edge with water and fold over to make a half-moon shape. Press the edges together to seal then crimp with a fork. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer or deep saucepan to 180˚C. Place a panzerotti in the oil and fry for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden. Drain on paper towel and serve immediately.
• Strong flour, also known as bread flour or baker’s flour, has a higher gluten content than regular flour, making it perfect for breads and pizza bases. You can buy strong flour at some supermarkets and health food stores.
• Try traditional panzerotti fillings, such as spinach and ricotta, ham, mozzarella and mushrooms or Nutella.
Photography by Alan Benson