Chiacchiere, literally ‘chatter’ or ‘little gossips’, are delicious traditional treats often enjoyed in Italy to celebrate the Carnival season in February and March. These are thin, crunchy pieces of lemon-infused fried pastry dusted with a delicious layer of icing sugar. Named for the noise they make when bitten into, chiacchiere cannot be consumed quietly but we assure you they are worth the fuss! Our head chef Roberta is partial to a chiacchiere or two herself, and today we’re sharing her family recipe, passed down through the d’Elia family for years.
Make Roberta’s Classic Chiacchiere
Serves: up to 6
Prep Time: 1½ hours
- 300g “00” flour
- 2 eggs
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 100g icing sugar (2 x 50g portions)
- pinch of salt
- 3 tbsp sunflower oil (plus a lot more for frying)
- 3 tbsp limoncello
- 3 tbsp white wine (Roberta recommends a top-quality Pinot Grigio)
- Pour the flour onto a flat surface and form it into a mound with a small well in the middle.
- Break the eggs into the well along with the salt, 50g icing sugar and the lemon zest and start mixing with your fingers to combine with the flour.
- When the mixture is starting to come together, add the wine, sunflower oil and limoncello, mixing carefully as you do. The mixture should begin to thicken and form a dough.
- Once the dough has been formed, wrap it with cling film or a clean tea towel and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- After this, divide the dough into smaller balls, weighing roughly 100g, and start rolling out each piece individually. Flatten the ball slightly with the palm of your hand and then use a rolling pin to stretch the dough into a thin sheet (you can use the pasta machine to help at this stage if you have one).
- Put the pasta sheets to one side and pour a generous amount of sunflower oil into a large frying pan (enough to submerge your chiacchiere). Heat the oil up to a very high temperature.
- With a pasta cutting wheel, shape the sheet of dough into rectangles of about 5cm x 10cm and make two central incisions on each piece down the length of the rectangle.
- As soon as the oil is hot, fry 2-3 rectangles of pastry at a time (make sure they don’t stick together or to the pan). Turn them on both sides until they are golden.
- Drain the pastry pieces on several sheets of kitchen towel to remove the excess oil and, once cooled, stack them and sprinkle with plenty of icing sugar.
- Your delicious chiacchiere are ready to serve, buon appetito!
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