April 16, 2014

Crostoli for Easter

I've seen this recipe appear on re-runs of the Food Safari Italy several times, and after each repeat, I am left bewildered and itching to make it. I think every culture has a version of their own fried dessert or sweet treats, and the Chinese are no exception, but I really wanted to try out an Italian version of course!

Crostoli are traditionally eaten at times of celebration, and what better time to eat it than Easter (if you celebrate it), especially for those that are breaking their fast for Lent. But seriously, it's so easy to make, perhaps just make it whenever you feel the need for a crispy sweet treat.
The Crostoli dough my friends is exactly like what Maeve O'Meara on Food Safari says... it SMELLS HEAVENLY. Citrus, fragrant, even Christmassy if you will, this is so easy to make and I actually find it really therapeutic churning the fragrant dough through the pasta maker multiple times to get to that beautiful silky thin state.


Adapted from Food Safari Italy

  • 500gm Plain Flour
  • 60gm of Cold Butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 heaped tsp of good Vanilla Extract
  • 1 zest of a fresh (unwaxed) Orange
  • 1 zest of a fresh (unwaxed) Lemon
  • 1/4 cup Icing Sugar + Some more for dusting
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 TBSP of Italian Grappa (an Italian liquer made from distilling leftover grape skins and grape seeds from wine making!)
  • a little water on hand
  • Rice Bran Oil for shallow frying
Equipment required: Pasta machine, Ravioli cutter (optional), large frying pan
Makes: Roughly 6-7 GIANT bowls! (You can freeze the dough you don't end up using, and bring it out to thaw and roll out at a later time -- lets say it'll keep in the freezer for about 1-2 months)

1.  Using your finger tips, rub the Flour, Cold Butter cubes, Baking powder, Vanilla Extract and the two zests together in a large bowl, until the dry ingredients resembles breadcrumbs (alternatively, chuck all these ingredients in a Food Processor and blitz)
2.  Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture in your bowl, and crack the 3 eggs in the middle, and pour in the Grappa. Gradually bring in the dry mixture into the eggs and Grappa with your fingers or a fork, and mix until a soft dough forms (if your dough is a bit dry, splash over some water to help it along).
3.  Knead the dough on a floured board for a few minutes, then shape into a disc, and wrap the dough in Gladwrap.
4.  Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes (in room temperature)
5.  Slice off a palm size of dough, dust your surface area with flour, and pass the dough through the Pasta machine on the widest setting about 8-9 times until the dough is smooth. Then carry on passing the dough through the pasta machine, turning down the setting until you reach the lowest setting and your dough is stretched long, silky and thin.
6.  Cut your dough sheet into small oblongs (thin, fat or long, your choice!) with a ravioli cutter to create a nice edge, and also create a couple small slits in the middle of the oblong strip
7.  Pour in an inch or two of Rice Bran Oil into your large frying pan, heat until 125-150 Degrees Celsius, and fry off the oblongs in small batches until pale golden. Place on a wire rack or paper toweled plate to cool.
8.  Dust with icing sugar and serve in bowlfuls alongside cups of tea, or shovel in your gob by the handful :)

Tip: To ensure some nice and curly shapes, either:
1) Pick up the Crostoli strips out of the pan by tonging the middle, it will naturally fall into a curve and stay that way as it cools down, or
2) Pinch the middle of the Crostoli while it's cooking in the oil, or
3) Lay the Crostoli strip into the oil in a twisted shape

Hope you all are having a great week, yay for short weeks! If you have a spare moment to potter around at home or feel like some great therapy, making this Crostoli will definitely do the trick. It can even be a fun group activity ;) I swear, this will satisfy your craving for crunchy things!


2 comments so far

  1. Kim (Feed Me, Seymour)April 16, 2014 at 9:57 PM

    You just took me back to childhood, big time! These look so much like the chrusciki my mom and grandpop used to make. My absolute favorite!

  2. oh wow, glad this post conjured up a great memory for you :)


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