Chiacchere, which mean chit- chat in Italian, is a strip of sweet pastry dough fried and coated with powder sugar, a dessert typical of Carnevale or Fat Tuesday.
Carnevale is a wide spread Christian tradition, it is the period that leads up to Lent. Carnevale began as a pagan festival dedicated to Saturn, father of Jupiter. With the spread of Christianity Carnevale became a time to eat and party prior to lent. This sweet pastry dough is made throughout Italy to celebrate the end of winter festivities and prepare for Lent.
In ancient Roma, this dessert was called “Frictilia”. Today you can find the same recipe under the name of Chiacchere, crostoli, frappe, lattughe, cenci, bugie etc.
The basic chiacchere recipes are similar all over Italy. The only variant is the kind of liquor that is added. I personally like to use dry white wine, but you can use sweet liquor like Marsala, or you can omit the liquor (or wine) and use milk instead.
Just few suggestions before you start:
Roll out and fry the dough in small batches; keep the remaining dough covered with a bowl.
Dough can be stored wrapped in plastic for up to 3 days; fried fritters can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Chiacchere di Carnevale – Fat Tuesday Italian fritters
1 Lb. Flour plus additional to work the dough.
150 – ml. dry white wine
3 Tbsp. butter at room temperature
1.8 oz. granulated sugar
2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
1 Tsps. vanilla
A pinch of sea salt
Canola or vegetable oil
Powder sugar as needed
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar, wisk until all is blended then add the eggs, vanilla, salt, and flour, mix well, add the wine and knead the dough until it is soft and smooth. Place the dough in a floured bowl, cover with another bowl and let it rest for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Using a medium size pan, heat the oil. Roll the dough with a pasta machine up to mark 6 or 1/8 inch-thick if you use a rolling pin. With a fluted pastry cutter, cut the dough in strips about 1 inch wide by 5 inches long.
Fry 4 strips at the time in boiling oil for about 1 minute, turning once. The fritter should be a light golden color. Remove using a slotted spoon and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Recipe courtesy of Lina Pulitano Waddell