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French in a Flash: Summer Berry Rissoles


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.

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