I have talked about Carnival celebrations, so I must also tell you about the typical cakes of this time of the year. They are lush and don’t feature on healthy eating guides. “Le frittelle” of all sorts are fried dough in hot oil and covered with sugar. There are various types and they are labelled with different names but in substance they are all yummy.
The “Zipulas” also known as “Cattas” depending where you are on the island are long fried dough curled into a spiral and covered with sugar. There are many recipes in Sardinia; though the base is always the same what changes are the aromas used in the mix that vary from Grappa, orange, lemon, potato, apple and a variation of spirits.
Melt the yeast in warm milk and slowly add to the flour stirring gently in a circular movement.
Continue stirring to obtain a smooth consistence without lumps. Add the orange and lemon peel and the spirits; keep stirring for at least 15 minutes until the consistence is smooth and dense.
Cover the mix with cling film and leave it to rise in a warm place for about an hour. It should double in size. When the mix is ready the top layer will show bubbles. You may now proceed with frying.
Bring the oil to temperature, wet the funnel and fill it with some of the mix holding it in with your fingers, take the funnel to the pan with the hot oil and let go of the mix in a spiral starting from the centre of the pan and working your way outwards. This phase is very delicate and must be done slowly while checking the mix already in the pan and separating it from the fresh dough you are still pouring using a fork.
When the spiral is golden on one side, turn and cook on the other side. Drain the oil off the fried spiral on kitchen paper, sprinkle with sugar and serve hot. Continue until you have cooked all the mix.
Sardinian women in the past used to gather and make these together as they are quite tricky to cook and require good manual skills as well as a fair amount of work to fry the lot.