Sunday, 31 January 2016

Chiacchiere or Cenci

It is carneval time here in Italy and one of the traditional things to make are chiacchiere. There are other names for these, cenci is one that springs to mind but here in the village we call them chiacchiere.


There are many different ways of making these but I have an old recipe I have used for many years which has now become the family recipe. It is from a recipe book I bought which no longer has the cover but has some super winter pasta recipes. 
My sister-in-laws both use this now, in fact my younger sister-in-law told me that this is the only recipe she has as "it is the best". She is 15 years younger than me so I was already using this when she got married.

I use a pasta machine to roll out the pastry but it can be done with a rolling pin and some patience! 


500 g white flour (about 4 cups for my overseas friends!)
Extra flour for rolling out and dusting the pasta sheets. I used nearly 50 g when I weighed what was left in the pack.
5 eggs (2 whole and 3 egg yokes)
3 tablespoons sugar.
4 half egg shells of liquor. (Limoncello, marsala or similar)
a pinch of salt.

Oil to fry. (I use olive oil as that is what I have here!)
Icing sugar.

Put the flour in a bowl and add the  sugar, eggs, salt and liquor. Mix well.


Use the empty egg shell to measure the liquor.


Roll it out thinly with the pasta machine or a rolling pin.

I usually use the largest setting on my machine and put the mixture through several times so it is mixed well. My machine has 6 settings. I start with the biggest and then gradually work to the 5th one. When making the pasta for lasagne I used the 6th setting, for this I keep it very slightly thicker at the 5th! 
I dust the pasta stripes with flour as I work.

I fold the pieces of pasta and repass them various times.

Use a pastry cutter to cut out stripes of pasta. I deliberately make them irregular so they don't seem bought!

Put olive oil in a frying pan and heat. Add the chiacchiere gradually being careful to not overcook. A friend used to make such soggy almost burnt ones! Not nice at all. They should be dry and crisp.

See how the bubbles form even though there is no baking powder in this recipe.

Take them out as soon as they are a golden colour and place on absorbent paper to cool.
These below were a bit too brown so were discarded!


Dust with icing sugar or some people even like to dip them in chocolate!

It is very easy to make these. The only thing is to be sure to mix the ingredients well, to be careful to remove quickly and drain oil and not overcook.

If you have someone to help you it simplifies things, DD was busy with homework but she did arrive in time to test they tasted good! Lol!

I didn't take a photo of them with the icing sugar as I will add that tomorrow when she takes them into school.

Do let me know if you make any and how they turn out!

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