Chiacchiere are the most popular Carnival dessert in Italy, called in many different ways depending on the regions of origin, but appreciated equally throughout the peninsula: chiacchiere, also referred to as frappe, cenci, bugìe, and cròstoli.
Crunchy and delicate fried pastries to be embellished with a dusting of powdered sugar, chiacchiere have very ancient origins, seemingly going all the way back to ancient Rome, where they were used to celebrate the Saturnali, a festival very similar to today’s Carnival, during which people ate frictilia, sweets fried in pork fat, distributed to the crowds along the city streets. Another legend claims instead that they were created at the court of Naples to fulfill the wishes of the queen.
What is certain, however, is that at Carnival these mouth-watering sweets cannot be missed. Here is the recipe from Michelin star chef Gennaro Esposito.
Ingredients for 4 people
Carnival Chiacchiere: Procedure
In a planetary mixer combine the previously sifted flour and baking powder. Add the sugar, eggs, and marsala and run the mixer. Add the salt after a few minutes, continuing the process. Finally, add the butter to the ingredients and knead until smooth. Remove the mixture from the planetary mixer, wrap in plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
Next, with the help of a rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is about 2 mm thick. Cut out rectangles of about 5×10 cm and make a cut in the center of each rectangle about 3 cm lengthwise. Separately, in a high-sided frying pan, heat the frying oil. As soon as the oil has reached temperature, fry the dough rectangles for about 2 minutes per side until they reach an even golden color. Remove the chiacchiere from the oil and arrange on paper towels.
Arrange the chiacchiere on a platter and decorate with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.