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Chiacchiere Ripiene per il Carnevale





Can I tempt you with some chiacchiere, frappe, cenci, guanti or bugie ripiene?  These are only some of the numerous names referring to these type of deep fried, yet light pastries prepared to help mark the carnivalesque festivities. Inspite of the name differences, the ingredients and method of cooking them are pretty much the same.  If you fill them with your favourite jam or nutella - yes, that famous chocolate spread, they take on the added verb ripiene (filled) hence the name chiacchiere ripiene.  

Il Carnevale (carneval) period is one of Italy's biggest winter festivals that commence 40 days before Easter, a final 'party' or one last moment of indulgence before Ash Wednesday and the penitence of Lent.  These sweets are one of the many lavish pleasures eaten around this period and use pantry staple ingredients such as flour, butter, eggs, sugar and some added flavourings, all of which we must be rid of in order to then commence our virtuous abstinence...more about this in my next post. 




Le Chiacchiere Ripiene (Sweet Fried Pastry filled with Quince)
The recipe for these chiacchiere is adapted from my maternal grandmothers recipe and filled with my quince jam.  The recipe for this jam can be found here.


Ingredients

240 g plain flour
20 g caster sugar
2 tblsp of vegetable oil or 20 g unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup of brandy
pinch of salt
1 lemon or orange (grated rind)
vegetable oil for frying
icing sugar for dusting

Filling:
jam of choice or nutella or my quince jam (1 tsp per chiacchere)


In a large bowl, sift flour, caster sugar, grated lemon rind and salt.

Lightly beat the eggs, oil (or melted butter) and brandy in a separate bowl and then add to the dry ingredients mixing well until combined.

Knead mixture on a lightly dusted board until dough is smooth.  Cover dough with cling wrap and allow to rest for half an hour.  

Cut dough into manageable pieces (quarters) and using a pasta machine, or alternatively using a rolling pin like my grandmother and grandmother used to, roll out to 2mm thickness.  

Using a serrated pastry wheel, cut long strips 5 cm wide, and then cut squares out of the same measurement.  In the center of one square, place a teaspoon full of jam. Moisten with some water around the circumference of the dollop of jam and then cover with another sheet of pastry on the diagonal. Press around to secure the edges so that the jam does not escape when frying.

Heat the vegetable oil in a small pot to 170 degrees.  Try not to over crowd the pot and only place 2 at a time, depending on the size of your pot.  Fry until a light golden in colour on one side, then with a fork or slotted spoon turn over. These sweets will puff up and if sealed correctly should not come apart.

Remove from oil and place on paper towel.  Once all cooked, transfer to a serving dish and dust with icing sugar. Indulge and enjoy!



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