Squash and sweet potatoes are cornerstones of longevity diets in all blue zones areas, so I was pleasantly surprised to see pumpkins growing in the highlands of Sardinia. And the very first recipe we discovered there was this tasty confection called thippulas: soft and smooth on the inside and sweet and crisp on the outside. With its delicate flavor, saffron—more readily available and affordable in Sardinia than in the United States—is a wonderful addition to this dish. If your budget affords it, then we recommend including it in your fritters, but this recipe is perfectly delicious without it as well. Besides being a prized culinary spice around the world, saffron, recent research shows, is made up of chemical compounds that support respiratory, digestive, and heart health.
Note: While nothing is off limits for the Blue Zones way of life, deep-fried foods are not an every day or every week occurrence and are saved for celebratory occasions.
Total Cook Time: 20 minutes | Makes 4 Servings
Source: The Blue Zones Kitchen
One 15-ounce can pumpkin puree*
Pinch of salt
1 cup flour (more if needed)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup water
½ teaspoon saffron (optional)
Zest from ½ lemon
½ cup applesauce
Olive or vegetable oil, for frying
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
*The flesh of a Sardinian pumpkin differs from the jack-o-lantern pumpkins in America, which are too fibrous and watery. That’s why we’ve subbed in canned pumpkin puree. But you can also substitute pureed acorn or butternut squash.