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Oreillettes de Provence

Oreillettes de Provence

This article was written by our new intern, Emily Saurack. Emily is a rising High School senior with a penchant for food, French, and photography. With inspiration from her extensive collection of cookbooks, Emily has been baking for her large family holiday gatherings and for charity events benefiting The Sharing Shelf. Emily founded a baking kit company called MixItReal, where she demonstrates healthy recipes for which she sells and delivers pre-packaged ingredients. Emily recently apprenticed at Estelle Gourmet, where she assisted with teaching French cooking classes. She has DELF level B1 certification and is working toward level B2 and hopes to one day study in France where, with her camera by her side, she could explore French cuisine and culture.

(Photo: "Chiacchiere" by Ciccio Pizzettaro, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

La Recette

Oreillettes are a traditional, delicious fried dough dessert that originated in Provence. In different regions, they have different names:

  • Vendée: bottereaux
  • Lyon, Savoie: bugnes
  • Champagne: frivolles
  • Charentes: merveilles
  • Auvergne: guenilles




These pastry puff fritters are made all across France and commonly eaten for Noël, Mardi Gras, and many other celebrations. The name Oreillettes comes from the word “oreilles” (ears) because back when people didn't have rolling pins to roll out the dough, they used their hands, and after they were cooked, they would resemble ears.

Prep Time: 4.5 hours
Cook Time: 30 seconds each
Yield: 2–3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened and cut up
  • Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower water (if unavailable, rose water or a few drops of orange extract can be used)
  • 4 cups peanut oil (any light vegetable oil works)
  • Granulated sugar, for dusting

Directions:

  • Using a sifter, sift the all purpose flour into a pile on a clean work surface. Then create a well in the center of the flour.  
  • In the well, add the salt, butter, orange/lemon zest, eggs, and orange flower water.  
  • With a fork, start stirring in the center of the well, and gradually stir towards the sides.
  • Once the wet ingredients are combined with the flour, start working the dough together with your hands.  
  • Knead the dough by pushing it out then in with the palms of your hands. 
  • Once the dough is smooth and no longer sticky, roll it into a ball and wrap it in plastic.
  • Refrigerate the dough for 3–4 hours.
  • Now sprinkle flour on a clean work surface, then roll out your dough as thin as you can make it.
  • Cut the dough into 3 x 2 inch rectangles.
  • Pour the oil into a deep fryer or large saucepan over medium heat until it reaches 375˚F.
  • Drop the rectangles of dough into the pan in batches for 30 seconds each side or until puffy and golden brown.
  • When they are done, transfer them to paper towels to drain the oil. 
  • While they are warm, generously dust the sugar all over.
  • Although oreillettes taste best fresh, you can store them in an airtight container for 2–3 days.
  • Bon appétit!