In Italy every year we celebrate Mardi gras. Mardi Gras, literally fat Tuesday, was celebrated because it was the last day Catholics could eat fatty foods before starting a 40 days light food diet for Easter.
Today Mardi Gras in Italy is mainly a celebration day where people dress in costumes and gather to watch parades, very few Italians still follow a light food diet after this day.
This year Mardi gras comes a little bit later than usual, falling on the first of March. However, like every year, Italians prepare, or just eat, a lot of sweets for this day.
Today I’d like to share with you a recipe to cook Italian Chiacchiere, a typical crunchy Italian sweet for Mardi gras.
All-purpose Flour 300g
Melted unsalted butter 30g
Medium Eggs 2
Fine salt 1 pizzico
Vanilla essence 1 teaspoon or Zest of 1 lemon
Liqueur (Grappa, Rhum or Cognac) 2 spoons
Peanut seed oil for frying
Take a bowl, add the flour, the sugar and the salt mix and make a well with it. Add the eggs, the butter, the lemon zest (or the Vanilla essence), the liqueur and combine the ingredients helping yourself with a fork.
Once done, add the milk and mix first with a fork and then with your hands to combine the ingredients.
Keep kneading the dough until you get a smooth homogeneous mixture. At this point form a ball, wrap it in some cling film and let it sit for at least 20 minutes at room temperature.
Once the dough has rested, roll it out with a rolling pin as thinly as possible – it should be no more than 2mm. In alternative, you can use a rolling machine.
Now, to shape chiacchiere, cut the dough into 5x10cm rectangles using a pastry wheel and make two parallel central cuts on each shape – the cuts should be made on the long side of each chiacchiera.
Bring the oil to a temperature of 170°C. Dip some chiacchiere in it and cook them on both sides (3-4 seconds per side) until they’re golden brown. Don’t worry if you see bubbles on them, it’s normal and it’s exactly how they should look like. Take them out and place them on paper towels.
Once they’re cold, place chiacchiere on a plate and sprinkle them with powdered sugar.
Enjoy your Italian chiacchiere!
Do you celebrate Mardi Gras in your country? Have you ever eaten Italian chiacchiere? Did you like them?