Carnival sweets: chiacchiere, frittelle, castagnole e migliaccio
Carnival is the period from Epiphany (January 6th) to the Ash Wednesday (the day when all the people of God receive the sign of the ashes).
It is celebrated in the countries of Christian tradition and in particular in those of the Catholic rite: to celebrate, parades are organized in various countries with allegorical floats and disguises.
There are different Italian Carnival sweets, here the recipes:
Chiacchiere recipe: also called Galani
They have many names and Galani is one of them, one of the Carnival sweets par excellence prepared in all the italian regions with different denominations. The origin dates back to Roman times who, during the spring festival, made similar desserts with the same dough used to make lasagna, fried them in pork fat and served them sweetened.
Here is the recipe to prepare them: in a bowl combine 500 gr of flour 00, 100 gr of sugar, 2 eggs, 40 gr of butter, grated lemon peel, 1 Rum tablespoon, 100 ml of Garganega white wine and a pinch of salt.
These ingredients have to be blended to get a homogeneous and malleable dough and this dough has to rest for 2 hours. The next step involves rolling out the dough with a rolling pin until you get a thin sheet that must be cut out with a wheel to form rectangles (the galani). When the seed oil or lard prepared in a pan is hot enough, we proceed with frying the galani or so called chiacchiere. As soon as they are golden, remove them and place them on absorbent paper. Only when they have cooled, sprinkle them with powdered sugar and serve. The perfect pairing is with the Passito Veneto Garganega.
Carnival pancakes: here how to prepare
The Carnival fritters are among the easiest carnival sweets to prepare: they are typical of Italian cuisine, in particular of the Venetian tradition. These are soft balls made with a simple batter made with flour, eggs, milk, sugar and citrus-scented raisins, fried in boiling oil and then rolled in icing sugar! They are also called fritole or castagnole.
Here is the recipe for how to prepare them: in a bowl mix 200 g of 00 flour, 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 100 g of milk, the grated rind of 1 lemon, the grated rind of 1 orange, 1 sachet of baking powder. , 80 gr of sultanas (previously softened in a glass of warm water for 10 minutes).
With the help of two spoons, balls are made from the batter thus obtained, which must be slipped directly into the hot oil contained in a pan with high sides. It is important to continuously turn the fritole during frying, to obtain a homogeneous cooking and browning. When we are satisfied, we extract from the oil and place on absorbent paper; then sprinkle with plenty of icing sugar.
From this classic version you can create numerous variations: for example, instead of raisins, you can add dried fruit in pieces such as dates, apricots, blueberries. Or make pancakes without raisins, but filled with custard or chocolate (called Bugie). Carnival Pancakes match perfect with Recioto della Valpolicella or Passito Veneto di Garganega.
Castagnole, also called Favette, are a typical dessert of the Italian Carnival. They are pancakes with the size of a chestnut, hence the name Castagnole, first fried in boiling oil and then dipped in sugar.
Here’s how to prepare them: in a bowl mix 200 gr of 00 flour, 1 large egg, 40 gr of soft butter, 50 gr of granulated sugar, the grated peel of 1 untreated lemon, the seeds of 1 vanilla bean or alternatively 1 / 2 sachet of vanillin, 1 tablespoon of Anise liqueur, a pinch of salt, 6 grams of baking powder for cakes.
Once you have a malleable dough, wrap it in cling film and let it rest at room temperature for about half an hour.
Then remove from the dough many pieces of dough weighing about 10 g and rub them between the palms of your hands until you get smooth balls. Then move on to frying in boiling oil. When the Castagnole are golden brown, dry them on absorbent paper and then pass them in the sugar. These are excellent when paired with a Recioto della Valpolicella.
Migliaccio of Neapolitan Carnival
Migliaccio is a typical Neapolitan Carnival cake made with semolino and ricotta. The traditional recipe is connected to the peasant tradition: the name derives from “millet”, the cereal from which the flour was obtained, which over time has been replaced by wheat. Millet was used in poor Neapolitan peasant cuisine, while today, for the preparation of this dessert, durum wheat semolina is used, or semolina.
The ingredients used for the migliaccio are the same as those found in the filling of the Neapolitan sfogliatella, for this reason the dessert, in some areas of Campania, is also known as “sfogliata”. The medieval peasant tradition also included the addition of pig’s blood, as well as for the preparation of black pudding, a custom that has been lost over time. Milleccio is traditionally prepared for Carnival, on Shrove Tuesday, and on the occasion of Easter.
To prepare the sweet millefeuille, in a saucepan, heat 500 ml of milk and 500 ml of water together with a lemon and an orange peel, without reaching the boiling point. Then add 40 grams of butter and mix, then remove the lemon and orange peel. Pour 200 grams of semolina and mix with a hand whisk until the mixture thickens.
Pour everything into a baking dish and let it cool. Break 4 eggs into a bowl and add 250 grams of sugar, whisk until the mixture is puffy and foamy. Always continuing to mix, add 300 grams of ricotta and a sachet of vanillin. Once you have a smooth dough, add the semolino and mix. Pour the mixture into a 26 cm pan greased and covered with parchment paper, level and bake in a static oven at 200 ° for 1 hour. Remove from the oven when the surface is well colored and let it cool for at least a couple of hours before cutting it. Decorate with powdered sugar.
In the photo Tommaso is tasting Essenza the alcohol-free wine with Carnival fritters!