Carnival is always a treat for adults and children, and even those who do not like masks, tricks, and crowded squares and streets, can definitely rely on meals …. eating traditional sweets of carnival.
Indeed, every region has its own specialties for Carnival that sometimes characterize a territory, while in other cases only the name changes but the sweet remains very similar.
An example? The famous Zeppole!! They are sweet pancakes with the shape of donuts; they are prepared with many variations depending on the place of origin. They are typical of the central and southern regions, especially Campania, Puglia and Sardinia, but now they have spread on a large scale and each recipe has its peculiarities. In Campania, for example, the dough is cooked on the stove, therefore it is first cooked before being fried in Puglia instead the dough is prepared and let rise before frying, as well as in Sardinia … and the Marche Region.
In my house the most popular recipe for zeppole, among the many I have tried it, is that of my dear Aunt Aurelia which I reveal instantly: 1 egg, ½ kg of flour, a cup of anise liqueur, 1 lemon or 2 oranges, 60 grams of yeast, a glass of warm milk, 50 grams of butter, a boiled potato (feel that softness !!) and a rain of sugar as a coating after frying. The process is very simple, I dissolve the yeast in the milk and in anise liqueur and, along with the melted butter, incorporate them into the flour with egg and grated rind of one lemon. Finally add a boiled potato, mix it all, prepare the rolls of the thickness of about one cm and then I close shaped donuts and let rise in a warm area until they are nice swollen (between one and two hours depending on the temperature of the environment). Fry the donuts in sunflower oil, drain and cover still hot donuts with granulated sugar. A specialty to eat just prepared!
And…what about the famous Carnival Chiacchiere? Also known as cenci or donzelle (Toscana), crostoli (Trentino), frappe or sfrappole (Emilia), lattughe or cenci (Lombardia), galani (Veneto), bugie (Piemonte)…. in the Marche region the main influence is that of Emilia but everyone calls them as he prefers. They are very simple: flour, eggs, butter, sugar and a small glass of anisette or rum … the dough is made very thin, cut into rectangles of various sizes and fried. Freshly cooked they are spread with icing sugar and are preserved even for a few days without any problems. Someone cooks in the oven to keep them even lighter!
But the Carnival sweets preferred by my children are the “Castagnole”. There are many recipes to prepare them, but I have learned the secret since only a few years: the secret is to sprinkle after frying with melted honey instead of icing sugar! A simple trick but that makes them absolutely great for young and old and for which you can use the full range of honeys you found on www.tastingmarche.com: Acacia honey, Honeydew honey, Lavander and acacia honey, Wildflower honey, Mid-hills honeydew and Honey and Hazelnut Cream!!
Happy Carnival to all !!!