Carnival celebrations in Italy would not be complete without the sweet pastry fritters that are prepared only during this festive season. Bakeries, pastry shops and supermarkets are full of traditional sweets than are eaten up until Lent. Chiacchiere are a typical sweet of Carnevale which claim very ancient origins. Infact at the time of the Roman, people used to prepare a sweet dough fried in lard and covered with honey.
Chiacchiere, literally translates as chatter or gossip, change names from region to region. Chiacchiere, Galani, Crostoli, Frappe, Bugie are only some of the names referring to these pastries. The recipe and method of cooking is the same everywhere: a sweet dough made by flour, butter, sugar, a bit of alcohol and vegetable oil to fry and served with powdered sugar on top.
Here the recipe for making them, courtesy of an Italian lady, 100% Venetian ;)
500 g flour
30 g melted butter
50 g sugar
1 grated organic lemon zest
3 tablespoons Grappa or Marsala or Rum
1 pinch of salt
1 Liter sunflower oil for deep frying
In a large bowl sift together the dry ingredients: flour, sugar and salt.
Add the melted butter and mix.
In a small bowl beat eggs with lemon zest and Grappa and add to the dry ingredients.
Mix together and knead to make a soft dough. Add a tablespoon of milk if mixture feels a little bit dry.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 1 hour in a cool place.
Cut into 4 pieces, and work each piece individually through a pasta machine or a wooden rolling pin. I used a pasta machine and sincerely this is the best to use for a thinly pastry.
Roll out the pastry thinly you can, about 1mm. This will be the secret for perfect, light and crispy Chiacchiere.
Cut the pastry with a cutting wheel into strips about 8x15 cm (3x6 inch).
Heat a pan with vegetable oil. Deep frying is a dry heat cooking method so do not economized on the oil and be generous. That's why I used a liter of oil!
When the oil reaches 170-180° degrees (350°F) drop few strips at a time. Remember they are thin, fry them quickly, when they puff and get golden, they are ready to be removed from the pan.
Drain on paper towels.
Let them cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Done! What do you think drinking a glass of Moscato while eating them? The perfect combination!