Edda Servi Machlin
For the Italian Jews orecchi di Aman are as synonymous with the festival of Purim as the Hamantachen are for the Ashkenazim. There are perhaps as many versions of this sweet as there are Jewish families in Italy. I regard this recipe as the finest. From this basic recipe you can create variations limited only by your own imagination.
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum or brandy
2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1 cup olive or other vegetable oil for frying
In a small bowl, beat the eggs and egg yolks with sugar, salt, lemon rind, olive oil, vanilla extract, and rum or brandy. Gradually add enough flour to make a rather soft dough. Turn out onto a floured working surface and knead for 2 or 3 minutes. Roll very thin. With a pastry cutter or with a very sharp knife, cut into strips 1 inch by 4 to 7 inches.
Slowly heat the oil in a small saucepan. Oil is at the right temperature when a small piece of dough dropped into it floats and begins to sizzle. Fry a few strips at a time, twirling them to give them odd shapes, until they are lightly golden. (Tie the longer pieces into a knot before frying them.) Drain and place on a paper towel.
When all the ears are done, transfer to a large serving plate, sprinkling each layer abundantly with confectioners sugar. (Always use a sifter or sieve to sprinkle confectioners sugar.)
Yields 2 to 3 dozen.
This recipe appears in The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews: Traditional Recipes and Menus and a Memoir of a Vanished Way of Life, by Edda Servi Machlin (Dodd, Mead & Company, 1981).
Haman's Ears (Orecchi Di Aman)