Carnival fritters

by Mirella Facchin

This recipe comes from the mom of my friend Alessandra. This is a traditional Carnival sweet (yes, we’re a wee bit early) well-known everywhere in Italy, albeit with different names depending on the region: “Chiacchiere” (=chit-chat) “Bugie” (=lies), “Cenci” (=rags), plus others which are meaningless also in Italian like “Frappe” “Crostoli” or “Galani”.

Health hypocrisy generated the monster of an oven version which in our family is tantamount to blasphemy, so I won’t spend any more time on it. Having said that, the eggs will make sure the dough absorbs very little oil, so after a minute or two of cooling, the fritters will be surprisingly dry.

Ingredients (serves 8-10)

  • 100g butter
  • 2 large tablespoons of sugar
  • 500g “00” flour (finely ground flour, if you don’t know what I am talking about, read this)
  • 2 whole eggs + 2 yolks
  • 2 tablespoons of whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons of rum
  • grated zest of 2 lemons

Melt the butter, add sugar and milk and a pinch of salt. Make a flour volcano and place this mix in its center, followed by the eggs, rum and lemon zest. Knead the dough thoroughly (at least 20 minutes, if available use a kneading machine) then let it rest 20 minutes before you roll it into layers “so thin you can see through”.

Rolling the dough is best done with a pasta machine like this one, working progressively through the rollers steps all the way to the last one (don’t cheat, though, only one step at a time !)

Cut the dough into sheets of 20×10 cm with two halfway cuts in the middle of each.

Heat peanut oil in a large frying pan to 170/180 °C and fry each sheet individually for no more than 30 seconds (see video), then put it to cool on kitchen paper.

Sprinkle generously with powdered sugar before serving, but eat carefully: they’re so thin they break easily!

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