The last day of Carnival, in Catholic countries, signifies the beginning of Lent and the days that stretch between Thursday and Fat Tuesday are typically filled with fatty foods, in anticipation of the austere meals that will follow for forty days.
As a child, I was never too eager to don costumes but I did love going to see the floats that would parade around town. But, most of all, Carnival, to me, always meant eating more sfrappole than my stomach could muster.
I rarely bother to make these deceptively simple delicacies because I know that, as hard as I try, mine will never be as good as my mother’s: mine are good, hers are otherworldly ethereal, so light, in fact, that it’s easy to keep on gulping them down past what is decent to consume in public.
With my mom’s stay coming to a close, I begged for sfrappole and she obliged. Also known as frappe, crostoli or chiacchiere, depending on the Italian region you are in, there is not much to these little clouds of powder sugar. The trick is to roll the dough as thin as possible.
RECIPE – Yields about 30 pieces
160 g AP Flour
2 ts Brandy
1 T Sugar
1 C Neutral oil (grapeseed or canola)
- Place the flour in a large bowl and make a well in the center.
- Break the eggs in the well, add the brandy and, with a fork, draw the flour towards the center, until all the flour is amalgamated and the dough comes together.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and knead it on a lightly floured board, until elastic. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough with a pasta maker or with a rolling-pin, as thin as you can get it.
- With a fluted wheel or a knife, cut rectangles of about 3cmx6cm.
- Heat the oil in a small high-sided pot until very hot.
Drop one rectangle and fry it until light golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and place it on a platter lined with paper towels. Continue until you have finished all the rectangles.
Dust with powder sugar.
I defy you to stop at one. Or two. Or three…