Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Chiacchiere di Carnevale - Italian Crispy Fried Pastries

Crispy and sugar covered, Italian Carnival fried pastries

 Italian Chicchiere di Carnevale

Let's celebrate Mardi Gras with one of Italy's most favorite Carnival treats: paper-thin dough, fried until perfectly golden and crispy and sprinkled with powdered sugar. 

Italian Chicchiere di Carnevale

These delicious treats are found all over Italy with very different names. They are called galani (in Venezia), crostoli, chiacchiere, cenci, frappe, bugie in other parts. There might be slightly different variations on the recipe, but the final product is very similar no matter what the name is.

Italian Chicchiere di Carnevale

One ingredient that makes the dough for this dessert special is grappa. You can substitute with other types of alcohol like white rum or even limoncello . I made the dough using my stand mixer but you can also do everything by hands. It sure makes for a great workout ;)

Italian Chicchiere di Carnevale

 The dough needs to rest at room temperature for half hour or so, and then needs to be rolled in a paper-thin sheet. 

I suggest working in little batches, and cut the sheet in half if it gets too big and hard to handle. Cut with a pastry wheel in pieces, any size and shape work. 

As reference I made mine into about rectangles 2 by 4 inches, with two cuts in the middle. Fry a few at a time in hot oil, until golden and puffy ... should only take a few seconds per side if you roll them really thin. 

It might take a little longer if you decide to keep the pastry sheets thicker. 

My suggestion, after you roll the first batch, fry and taste ... if they turn out heavy and not perfectly crispy, roll the next a little thinner!

To roll the dough you can use your rolling pin and work some arm muscles. Or any pasta roller works. This is the one I use, which is an attachment to my KitchenAid stand mixer. 

As I said before, I'm a little obsessed with this roller. So fun to use. Who's ready to join in the fun and try to make these chiacchiere too?!?


Other Italian treats made during Carnival:


    • 2 1/3 cup (300 gr) all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 cup (50 gr)  sugar
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 2 large eggs 
    • 2 tablespoons (30 gr) unsalted butter, softened
    • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) grappa or white rum
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
    • oil to fry 
    • powdered sugar for dusting 


TIME: 30 minutes to prepare, plus 30 minutes inactive 
In a bowl of your stand mixer, add the flour, sugar, salt. Mix to combine. 
Add the eggs, vanilla extract,  and grappa. 
Mix with  until combined. Add the butter (softened or melted) and mix some more. 
  Add a little water (or more grappa) if needed one teaspoon at a time. 
Knead for at least 10 minutes. Make into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. 
Working with a forth of the dough at a time, roll with a roller starting from the thickest setting. Fold in three and roll again. Repeat two or three times. 
Now pass it through the roller, moving to a thinner setting every time. I stopped at one notch before the thinnest on my roller. 
Cut into rectangles (about 2 x 4 or larger), cut two incisions in the middle of each rectangle. 
Fry in abundant oil, a few at a time only. It should take about 5 to 10 seconds per side. 
Remove with a slotted spoon, drain on paper towel and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Enjoy!

PRINTABLE RECIPE CARD: Italian Chiacchiere di Carnevale

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