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Chiacchiere: the classic Carnival recipe to make crispy, sweet Italian fried pastries

Total time: 80 Min
Difficulty: Medium
Serves: 30-40 chiacchiere
By Cookist
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Chiacchiere (pronounced kjak-kje-reh) are classic Italian fried pastries people enjoy during Carnival season, a period of sweet, fried recipes and masked parties that anticipates Lent. Also known as chiacchiere di Carnevale, these thin, puffy sweet pastry strips are fried until crispy and golden brown, and served with a sprinkling of powdered sugar.

The Italian word chiacchiere means "chit chat" or "gossip" in English as they are perfect to munch between conversations. Anyway, this recipe is so popular in Italy that people give them different names. You can even find these delicious sweet treats in bakeries even two weeks before Fat Tuesday.

To make them perfect, simply roll out the dough very thinly with a special pasta machine and fold it several times on itself. Cut it into rectangular shapes and mark one or two clean central cuts. Then, fry the strips in hot oil, this will make them swell, and become full of bubbles and with a crispy texture which crunches under your teeth.

Super crispy and not greasy at all, these Carnival sweet treats literally melt in your mouth. Decorated with powdered sugar, they should be served very hot on the occasion of a themed party, a snack for children or a dinner with guests.

Once you understand how to make the perfect chiacchiere di Carnevale, you will not resist the temptation to try them in their many forms, with chocolate, salty or stuffed.

Chiacchiere Origins

According to the legend, chiacchiere are called this way because Queen Margherita of Savoy asked the cook Raffaele Esposito for a dessert suitable for "chats" with her guests. From this request the chiacchiere would be born, a delicate and light pastry, not at all greasy, to be eaten by hand even in the court salons.

However, some think that this recipe would date back to the ancient Romans as they used to enjoy fricitilia, sweets made of eggs and flour which were fried in lard. These sweet treats were made in large quantities in order to celebrate Saturnalia feast (similar to the today's Carnival) and last for the whole Lent period.

Different Names for Chiacchiere di Carnevale

Chiacchiere di Carnevale are such a popular recipe that every Italian region has given it a different name. So, don't worry if you hear names like frappe (Rome), crostoli (Trentino-Alto-Adige), lattughe (Lombardy), frappe or sfrappole (Emilia-Romagna), cenci or donzelle (Tuscany), bugie (Piedmont), or galani (Veneto). You should know that it's always the same thing.

Tips for making Chiacchiere Italian Fried Pastries

Use a flour with a strength greater than 260 W. These are flours suitable for all leavening, even the longest ones that exceed 18 hours. In this way you will get very swollen chiacchiere full of bubbles.

You can use different types of liqueur such as grappa, brandy, marsala or white wine. The addition of the liqueur helps to make the dough melting and light, full of air bubbles in order to give the chiacchiere their characteristic appearance. Do not worry, the alcohol will evaporate during cooking, leaving only its aroma.

For frying, use peanut seed oil; odorless and with a high smoke point, it is among the best for this cooking technique; bring it to the right temperature (hot but not boiling, about 170° C or 338°F), in order to obtain a perfect, golden and not greasy chiacchiere.

Do not add the yeast as this leads to longer leavening times and favors the absorption of oil in frying. The result will make less flaky and light chiacchiere. Just prepare them thinner and fry them well to avoid using yeast.

There are several variations of the traditional recipe. Chiacchiere can be fried or baked in the oven, or served with drizzles of melted chocolate instead of powdered sugar.

How to store Chiacchiere di Carnevale

Chiacchiere di Carnevale are dry, so you can store them in a tin box or a special airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days. Anyway, we suggest to enjoy chiacchiere as soon as possibile! Freezing is not recommended.

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Ingredients

All-purpose flour
200 g
Egg
1
egg yolk
1
butter, softened
25 g
Granulated sugar
20 g
liqueur
20 g
salt
a pinch
peanut seed oil, for frying (or vegetable oil)
powdered sugar, for decorating

How to make Carnival Chiacchiere

Making the dough

Prepare the dough; put the all purpose flour in a bowl and add the sugar.

Also add the salt.

Pour in the lightly beaten eggs.

Give a light stir with a spoon.

Then flavor with the liqueur.

Finally add the soft butter.

Knead to amalgamate all the ingredients.

Transfer the dough to the work surface and knead it for a few more minutes until it is smooth and uniform.

Wrap the dough with cling film and let it rest at room temperature for about half an hour.

After this time, take the dough back and press it lightly on the floured surface.

Divide the dough with a spatula into 4 pieces.

How to shape the Chiacchiere di Carnevale

Now it's time to shape the chiacchiere. Start by passing each piece in the pasta machine until gradually reaching the minimum thickness.

The sheets must be very thin (about 1/16-1/8 inch or 1.5-3 millimeters).

Transfer the sheets to a lightly floured work surface.

Obtain 5-6 centimeters wide rectangles by cutting them out with a pastry wheel.

Make one or two small cuts in the center of the dough.

How to fry Chiacchiere di Carnevale

Heat the peanut seed oil in a saucepan or pan, check the temperature which should settle at 170-175°C (338-347°F).

Immerse a few chiacchiere at a time.

Fry them for a few moments, turning them often until they are golden brown. Change the peanut seed oil often and fry a few chiacchiere at a time to prevent the temperature from dropping too much.

Drain the chiacchiere on absorbent kitchen paper.

If the pastry is thin enough, the result will be fragrant, full of bubbles and not greasy.

When the chiacchiere have dried, sprinkle them with plenty of powdered sugar.

Bring on the table and serve.

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