Carnevale (aka Mardi Gras) season is an enormous tourist attraction in Venice. It is a time for festivities which include the amazingly beautiful Venetian masks, but also a whole host of foods that are part of the tradition. Fritoe or frittelle alla Veneziana are similar to a doughnut or fritter. The recipe makes a lot, so it's a great dessert to serve at a large gathering. They are really addicting- you can't each just one.
Before beginning to make the frittelle, put the raisins to soak in a small bowl, covering them with rum. Traditionally they would be soaked in grappa, but rum is just fine, and gives them great flavor. The raisins should soak for at least a half hour.
When I make the frittelle batter, I use my stand mixer, but you can certainly make it by hand. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, milk, eggs, and 1/4 cup of sugar. I first use the paddle attachment, then finish off with the dough hook. The dough should come together nicely, but remains very moist and sticky.
In a separate cup or small bowl, add one and a half packets or roughly 1 1/2 tablespoons of dry active yeast to a 1/4 cup warm water. Let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
Once the yeast mixture is ready, add it to the frittelle batter, along with a teaspoon of salt. Drain the raisins from their soaking liquid and add them to the batter as well. Stir the mixture until it becomes homogeneous. Now the batter is just about ready. Cover the mixing bowl with a cloth, and let it rise for a couple of hours at room temperature.
After the dough has rested enough time, heat the oil for frying in a pan or a deep fryer, the oil should be about 375 degrees. Add the dough to the oil in heaping spoonfulls, they should be somewhat of a sphere shape. Frittelle need about 2 minutes to cook, with a turning over midway through. They should take on a nice light brown color. When they appear done, remove the frittelle from the fryer, and immediately roll them in the final 1/4 of sugar, so that they get a nice coating. If you have vanilla sugar, that is a nice touch, but normal white sugar works just fine. Serve frittelle immediately. They are best when warm, but can be eaten room temperature as well. ENJOY!