Whenever I think of rissoles I think of Rizzo from Grease, and that they, like her, are a little bit naughty. They are stuffed balls of all-butter puff pastry, deep-fried in oil—talk about grease. But done right, they are the best kind of beignet, or doughnut. These little Pop'ems or doughnut holes are a parting gift, a last hurrah of summer before the autumn chill hits and makes frivolous, delicate things like doughnut holes and berries seem a thing of the past, or the all too-distant summery future.
I have a somewhat sweet confession. When I was young, right on the way home from school, there was a Dunkin' Donuts. In what you might consider truly un-French fashion, Maman and I went through a phase where we stopped there nearly every day after school as an afternoon pick-me-up (we went through a similar phase with McDonald's french fries). And just as Maman, Gallic integrity intact, had no problem ordering french fries, so she had no problem ordering French crullers. As for me, I always stuck with the pink strawberry frosted. These rissoles are my homemade grown-up version.
Nothing could be easier to make. Store-bought puff pastry (you're welcome to make your own, but I can attest there's nothing frivolous about that) is rolled out, and berries are placed along in little tidy rows. Another sheet of pastry is placed over the top, and a ravioli stamp seals the deal. Then fry them up, and shake them around in a lunch bag full of snowy white powdered sugar.
Keep in mind that "rissoler" in French means "to brown," so make sure they are well-colored and crisp on the outside. The sweetness of the sugary coating, combined with the crisp buttery richness of the pastry and the sweet-tart popping berry center make these rissoles somewhere between a doughnut and one of Aunt Polly's all-American pies.
Get 'em while they, and the season, are still hot! As Robert Frost once wrote, "nothing gold can stay." That includes the summer sun, and golden-browned, juicy berry rissoles.
About the author: Kerry Saretsky is the creator of French Revolution Food, where she reinvents her family's classic French recipes in a fresh, chic, modern way. She also writes the The Secret Ingredient series for Serious Eats.
French in a Flash: Summer Berry Rissoles
About This Recipe
- 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1/2 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 2 teaspoons flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Powdered sugar
Fill a pot halfway with vegetable oil, and begin heating it to 350°F.
Using some bench flour, roll the cold but thawed puff pastry out into a square that is about 12 inches on each side. Cut 4 equal strips across the pastry.
Toss the berries with the flour and the sugar.
Making the rissoles is just like making ravioli. One strip of dough will be the base, on which you place your filling. Another strip of dough will blanket over the filling, and then you will stamp out the ravioli. So, begin with 2 strips of dough. Brush each lightly with beaten egg, to help the top and bottom pastries stick together. In your mind, divide the base strip of dough into 4 squares. Alternating, place either 2 raspberries or 3 blueberries in the center of each of those squares. Place the top layer of dough, egg wash-side down, over the dough dotted with berries. Use your fingers to create little pockets, and press the dough lightly all around and between the filling, so any air gets out, and so the dough sticks firmly together. Flour a 2 1/2-inch ravioli stamp, and stamp out the little round, scalloped rissoles.
When the oil reaches 350°F, fry the rissoles in two batches for 5 to 6 minutes, until golden and flaky. Drain on paper towel, and dust generously with powdered sugar, like Tinkerbell scattering fairy dust. Eat them when they're still too hot.