I love this time of the year. Yes just before Lent. The best Italian pastries come out. For some French and/Austrian cultures have delicious pastries. This is true but Italian pastries are delicious and tasty. They use a great deal of fruit. Cherries( le ciliege) are my favorite fruit topping. I also love the Italian creme ( la crema). The special dough for the famous zeppole is known as a pasta choux. The pastry is so light and delicate. It reminded me of a French pastry treat “Brioche”. I do love many of the french pastries, especially granache. Yummy. But that is another topic.
Here are these fried” rags” are wonderful, crunchy, and satisfying.
Here is the link Don’t get frightened, the recipes explanation is in English but I think the Italians are doing great with televised food shows. They are into their own Food network/channel… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKnnDEm3zqE
Chiacchiere 5 cups of flour; 1/2 cup of grappa or some nice liqueur of your choice( some of the cooks added vodka and a little milk); 1/8 or a pinch of salt; 1 and 1/2 tsp; of baking powder; 1tsp vanilla; 3 eggs + 1 yolk; 1/3 cup of sugar; 3 and1/2 tbs of butter; peanut oil for frying; I use canola oil it is lighter than peanut oil.
Preparation: In a large bowl put the flour and the baking powder; Add all of the other ingredients add the salt first, sugar, butter, liqueur, and the eggs. mix by hand and mix until it is all been incorporated. The dough should be smooth. Place on a work top that has been lightly floured and knead the dough for about 5 to 10 minutes. The dough should be completely mixed and smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap for about 30 minutes in a cool place but not the fridge. After the dough is rested divide it into 3 equal pieces. When you use one of the pieces, keep the other pieces wrapped. The dough can easily dry out.
You will to have a pasta machine to roll out the dough. there are 3 settings on the machine.
you roll the first piece in the larger roller width. Roll it twice, then go to the second size, cut the dough in half, intermediate 2 X; then the final roller width 2 twice. Make sure there are no holes after it goes through the rollers. if that does happen re-roll the dough and start again; with a sharp knife cut the dough into squares then cut slits into the dough. Heat the oil to 350 degrees, the dough will float to the top of the oil. sprinkle with confectioner sugar and eat Yummy…
I hope I have helped you make one of my favorite Lenten treats..