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The Tyrol: Two Grosti Recipes / Grosti da patac, Grosti sec
The cuisines of mountainous areas can sometimes seem shockingly high in fat and calories to those of us who work in well-heated environments and are too sedentary in our habits. But the mountain people of past decades and centuries didn't have such leisure. Living in some of the world's most hostile and least food-productive terrain, they had to find and consume enough calories to keep themselves warm and keep themselves working in the more or less inescapable cold.
Main dishes, side dishes and desserts that come from the European Alpine regions will therefore routinely wind up emphasizing the use of calorie-rich fats such as lard, butter and oil. The sweet and savory grosti of the Tyrolean area would be typical of this approach.
The sugar-dusted Grosti sec are very similar to other simple fried pastries in more northerly and southerly parts of Europe. In particular, sweet fried pastries like these, under many different names, have become traditional to eat during the Mardi Gras period. That would be when cooks observing the old "hard" Lenten fast would be hurrying to use up the fats and oils forbidden to an observant household during the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter.
The savory grosti da patac are somewhat more unusual: they include riced or mashed potatoes in their dough. In mountainous regions like Val Gardena / the Grödnertal in northern Italy, they're usually served with sauerkraut in the wintertime, or (in summer) with fresh, briefly boiled cabbage or other vegetables.
Our recipes come from Speisa da Zacan: Traditional Dishes of Val Gardena, a brochure from the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Grödnertal / Val Gardena, and were translated by EuroCuisineLady. Click on "read more" for the recipes and methods.
For Grosti da patac / Potato Grosti:
- 3 potatoes, boiled in their skins and peeled
- 2 eggs
- Enough flour to make a soft dough
- Salt (a pinch)
- 1 teaspoon oil
Mash or rice the potatoes and mix with the flour. Add the eggs, salt, and a teaspoon of oil.
Knead the dough and roll out: cut into strips with a pastry cutter, making the strips about 10 cm long and 6 cm wide. Deep-fry in hot oil.
These are good with crisp, briefly-boiled cabbage.
For Grosti sec / "Dry" Grosti:
- 1 kilogram flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 pinch salt
- Enough milk to make a dough
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- Oil for frying
Mix all the ingredients together well in a bowl. With a rolling pin or pasta machine, roll the dough out and cut into strips about 10 cm long and 6 cm wide with a pastry cutter. Use the cutter or a sharp knife to cut a slit in the middle of each rectangle: this helps them cook more evenly.
Deep-fry the grosti in hot oil, drain, and dust with powdered sugar.
This recipe makes quite a lot of grosti, enough for four to six people.