The Chiacchiere (“small talk“) are crisp and delicate typical sweets of the Carnival period.
They have different names depending on the region of origin: chiacchiere and lattuge in Lombardy, cenci and donzelle in Tuscany, frappe and sfrappole in Emilia and so on. These are a very crispy sweets, made by frying a simple dough and sprinkling with powdered sugar for the finishing touch. Their presence in the windows immediately makes the air bubbly and cheerful, reminding everyone of the approaching festivities.
Ingredients for about 40 pieces:
1 vanilla bean
3 whole eggs and 1 yolk
6g chemical baking powder
peanut oil q.s
powdered sugar q.s
Mix the flour, baking powder, eggs, sugar and grappa together until the ingredients are perfectly blended. Add the seeds of the vanilla bean and butter, then continue to knead for about 10 minutes until the mixture is homogeneous and easy to work with. If necessary add 5/10 ml of water.
Put the dough on your kitchen counter, and handle it quickly to give it a spherical shape. Wrap the dough with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
After this, divide the dough into portions (for example of 100 grams each) and start working each individually. Roll out the dough until it gets as thin as possible.
Let the thin slice of dough stand a few minutes while you put the oil in a pan and heat it to a temperature of 170-180 °. With a cutting wheel or a knife cut the slice into rectangles of about 5×10 cm and make two central cuts, parallel to the long side (as shown in the picture below).
As soon as the oil has reached the right temperature put 2-3 rectangles of dough in the oil and fry, turning them on both sides until it gets a nice golden color and a crispy texture. When they seem finished, take them out of the pan and drain the oil with the help of kitchen paper. Finally cover them with icing sugar when cool.
Your small talk are ready to be enjoyed!
A little tip: I really cannot resist chocolate. My guilty pleasure is to melt some dark and white chocolate and pour it on the chiacchiere.
Curiosity from the world: in some countries husbands give the Chiacchere to their wives on Friday the 13th in order to avoid bad luck.