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Cenci! Or Frappe, Chiacchere, or...

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Cenci, lattughe, bugie... Tasty Carnival pastries!

Cenci, lattughe, bugie... Tasty Carnival pastries!

© Kyle Phillips, Licensed to About.Com
To begin at the beginning, perhaps the best-known Carnival pastries are Cenci (the word means rags), whose many aliases include Frappe, Chiacchere (gossips), Lattughe (lettuce leaves) and Nastrini (ribbons), while Ada Boni, who borrows Pellegrino Artusi’s recipe, uses the more poetic "Lover’s Knots." They are very pretty when carefully made, so she is probably right.

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups (225 g) flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • A pinch of salt
  • More confectioner’s sugar for dusting
  • Oil for deep frying

Preparation:

Make a fairly stiff dough with these ingredients, kneading it thoroughly, and adding more flour if it comes out too soft. Flour it and let it rest, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for about an hour.

Roll the dough out into an eighth-of-an-inch (3 mm) thick sheet, and use a serrated pastry wheel to cut it into strips as long as your palm and two fingers wide.

Make a cut down the middle of each cencio (so as to obtain two strips joined at the ends), twist the side strips without breaking them, fry them in hot oil or lard, and dust them with confectioners sugar when they’re cool.

This recipe, Artusi says, is sufficient to make a platterful. He finishes up with, "Should the dough have formed a crust while it sat, knead it again before you roll it out."

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