Carnevale, or "Fat Tuesday", is coming up, so it is time to make chiacchiere. The word "chiacchere" translates into "chatter", "chit-chat", or "gossip", but in this context it is a strip of sweet pastry dough fried and coated with powdered sugar. These crispy strips of dough are made throughout Italy and are called by various names: I have heard them called bugie, cenci, crostoli, and frappe. Check this link for a list of all the names. "Chiacchiere" is what we call them in Calabria. Below are pictures and a short video to show you how to shape them.
Follow the recipe below to mix the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator, to make it easier to roll:
and watch the video below that shows you how to shape them: Fry a few at a time in a pot of hot vegetable oil, about 375 F.
Turn them constantly so they fry evenly.
When golden remove them from the oil and drain on paper towel.
Transfer them to a platter and sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
Make some and celebrate Fat Tuesday the Calabrian way!
For a printable recipe
4-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup light rum or liqueur of your choice
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
Vegetable oil for frying
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Sift the flour into a bowl. Sift the baking powder into the flour and stir them together. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, wine, rum, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Whisk until well blended.
Add the flour to the egg mixture 1 cup at a time, blending with a fork. Once you have incorporated all the flour, knead the dough briefly in the bowl with one hand until it is soft and smooth. It will be moist and a little sticky but refrain from adding flour if you can. Cover the bowl and refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes.
Roll the dough with a pasta machine or a rolling pin into a 1/8-inch-thick sheet, as for a pie crust, dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking. With a fluted pastry cutter, cut the dough into strips about 1 inch wide and 6 inches long. Cut a 2-inch lengthwise slit in the center of each strip. Pick up a strip, insert one end through the slit and pull it through.
Put 4 inches of vegetable oil in a heavy 6-quart pot and place over moderately high heat.
When the oil reaches 375ºF, you can begin frying the chiacchiere. Work in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pot. Using a large, shallow stainless-steel skimmer or a slotted spoon, transfer a few pieces of dough to the hot oil. They will puff immediately. Fry the chiacchiere keeping them constantly in motion, until they are golden all over, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes.
Transfer them to a tray lined with paper towels to drain briefly, then put them on a serving platter. Dust heavily with confectioner’s sugar while still warm.
Copyright, Rosetta Costantino. All rights reserved.