Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Crostoli di Carnevale

To some, carnival is but a fancy and chronologically misplaced way of celebrating halloween. Wrong. To others, it's nothing but silly people dressing up in silly costumes. Wrong. To some folks, carnival is the celebration of freedom. Wrong. To others still, it is a social vent that prevents society from imploding by granting the unprivileged privileges they would normally not possess, thus giving them an opportunity to ridicule their perceived oppressors. Wrong again. To some other people, it's a just a holiday. Wrong still. What all these people have in common is that they fail to see the true purpose of carnival: crostoli. In truth, when crostoli were invented, people deemed them too good to be eaten every day. They simply couldn't cope with their deliciousness. They were overwhelmed, their palates rebelled and their minds went numb. And so it was that Divine Cherry and Celestial Dragon intervened. They gave the people an idea. How about you invent a holiday just for this occasion and decree that crostoli are to be eaten during that time of the year only, they suggested. The people thought that this was a marvellous idea! They spent an entire year so eagerly looking forward to the newly created holiday that when the day arrived, they exploded in a firework of joy and music and dance and colours and costumes. Needless to say, they then immediately stuffed their faces with crostoli.

Crostoli - Tipical  italian carnival sweet. They are known by different names in every Italian region: Crostoli (Wide Veneto) Galani (Venice), Frappe, Chiacchere, Bugie. This recipe is taken from Divine Cherry's grandma's recipe book.

- 400 g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 40 g butter, softened
- 40 g sugar
- 1egg and 2 yolks
- lemon zest

- 1 glass or white wine or marsala
- vegetable oil to deep fry
- icing sugar

In a large bowl put the flour mixed with baking powder, salt, sugar, lemon zest, the softened butter, egg and yolks. Stir and add as much wine as needed to get a dough a little softer that the tagliatelle dough. Place the dough on the working surface and knead until smooth and elastic (5-10 minutes). Roll out the pastry and cut 3 cm wide strips with a serrated wheel. Deep fry a few at a time in hot oil. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with plenty of icing sugar.

Notes: - Roll out the pastry as thinly as possible:  the thinner, the better the crostoli. If you have a pasta maker, use it to strech the dough as thin as possible. I used a rolling pin: good workout!
- Cover the cut strips of dough with cling film when waiting to fry them, so that they will not dry out.
- There is no need to make precise shapes, irregular crostoli are beautiful ... I made rectangles with two central cuts.
- The oil should stay between 160 C and 180 C. If you have a thermometer, better use it. Otherwise check the temperature by dipping a toothpick in the hot oil (or throw in a small piece of dough): if bubbles form around it, the oil has the right temperature. Be careful not to get the oil too hot: if you see smoke, you need to throw the oil away, it is toxic!

Crostoli - ricetta della nonna di Divine Cherry che qui trascrivo pari pari come dal suo prezioso quaderno,

- 400 g farina
- 40 g burro morbido
- 40 g zucchero
- 1uovo e 2 tuorli
- 1 cucchiaino di lievito
- un pizzico di sale
- buccia grattata di un limone
- q.b. vino bianco o marsala
- abbondante olio per friggere
- zucchero a velo

In una ciotola capiente mettere la farina mescolata al lievito, il sale, la raschiatura del limone e il burro ammorbidito, l'uovo, i tuorli e tanto vino quanto serve per avere una pasta un po' piu' morbida di quella delle tagliatelle. Mettere l'impasto sulla spianatoia e lavorarlo finche' sara' liscio ed elastico. Stendere la sfoglia sottile e tagliare delle strisce con la rotella dentellata. Friggerle poche alla volta in abbodante olio bollente. Scolarle su carta assorbente e cospargerle di zucchero a velo.

Note:  - Tirare la sfoglia il piu' sottile possibile: piu' e' sottile, piu' buoni sono i crostoli. Se avete una macchinetta per tirare la pasta usatela e impostate la tacca piu' stretta. Io ho usato il mattarello: faticosetto!
- Coprire le strisce di pasta tagliata con della pellicola in attesa di friggerle, in modo che non si secchino.
- Non occorre fare delle forme precise...i crostoli sono belli irregolari! Io ho fatto dei rettangoli con due tagli in mezzo, anche questa e' una foma piuttosto tipica.
- L'olio dovrebbe stare tra 160 C e 180 C, se avete un termometro usatelo altrimenti per vedere se e' caldo abbastanza immergete uno stuzzicadente (o buttate un micro pezzetto d'impasto): se si formano le bollicine intorno, l'olio e' alla temperatura giusta. Attenzione a non scaldarlo troppo, se fuma va buttato perche'diventa tossico.


  1. I can definitely see why they were deemed too delicious for everyday! I have never had these but I am intrigued. A blend of wine and lemon in a crisp snack is something I would like to taste and making them would be a fun project! I am saving this recipe-thanks.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Tina! These are very typical sweet for this period of the year in Italy. Since they are deep fried you won't eat them often...but they are soo good! :)

  2. I am a new follower and a big fan of your blog El Pasticcio! So many wonderful recipes, I don't know where to begin.....looking forward to exploring it all!

    1. Thank you Tiffany for your visit, i do hope you enjoy our recipes! :)

  3. E aggiungo il nome "cenci" con cui sono note in Toscana!
    Mi piacciono molto, e sinceramente proverei ogni ricetta possibile ;-)

    1. Hai ragione, il nome toscano non lo ricordavo! :)

  4. yummy!! ogni ricetta ha il suo fascino, e che pazienza a stenderli a mano!

    1. Eh gia' ho fatto un po' di muscoli alle braccia! prossimo acquisto quando avremo una sistemazione piu' definitiva: macchinetta per la pasta!! :)

  5. This is a lovely post...Can't wait to try ;)

  6. I remember this sweet, it was one of my favorites.