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Chiacchiere are a traditional Italian sweet popular throughout carnival season. This is a simple and delicious recipe, made with a few simple ingredients.
You can bake chiacchiere in the oven, or deep-fry them.
What are chiacchiere?
Chiacchiere are the most popular carnival sweet in Italy. They are popular from north to south, and every grandmother (and myself) will definitely make a whole batch for the family.
The traditional recipe for chiacchiere is deep-fried. Here I'll show you how to make them deep-fried and oven-baked. Our recipe does not contain eggs or butter.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Flour: cake flour is the best for this recipe.
- Sugar: regular white sugar is best.
- Salt: just a pinch, to bring flavours together.
- Lemon zest: best if from an organic lemon. You can also use orange zest.
- White wine: it makes the chiacchiere light, crips, and full of little bubbles.
- Water: just plain tap water.
- Oil: sunflower seed oil or any other neutral vegetable oil.
- Frying oil: if you deep-fry them.
- Powdered sugar: to sprinkle on top.
You'll need a rolling pin or a pasta machine to roll out the dough. Also, usually chiacchiere are cut with a pasta cutter. If you don't have that, you can use a sharp knife instead, or a pizza cutter.
How to make chiacchiere?
Start with the dough
To make chiacchiere, mix together 2½ tablespoons (30 grams) sugar, ¼ cups (60 grams) water, 3 tablespoons (40 grams) white wine, 2½ tablespoons (30 grams) sunflower oil and the grated zest of a lemon or of an orange.
Mix together for a few seconds, then add 1⅔ cups (250 grams) of cake flour, and a pinch of salt.
Combine all the ingredients together, then transfer the mixture onto a work surface and knead for 5 minutes till you have a compact and springy dough. Shape it into a ball, then let rest for about an hour covered under a bowl, or a kitchen cloth.
Resting is key here to allow the gluten to relax. This way it’ll be easy to roll out the dough.
After an hour you can roll out the dough either with a pasta machine, starting from the larger setting and going down to the thinnest, or with a rolling pin.
Dust your worktop with flour, then roll out as thin as you can, remembering to fold the dough on itself two to three times.
Folding helps the dough get light and full of bubbles when we cook it later on.
Keep rolling out the dough as thinly as you can. The shape is not important. Then when you have a very thin dough, almost transparent, you can cut it.
The most common shape you’ll find here in Italy is rectangular with two openings in the centre.
But shape is not super important when it comes to angel wings, you can really get creative and do this with kids, letting them cut the dough in the weirdest shapes.
Once cut you can place the shapes on a clean kitchen cloth, and stack more clothes on top of each other to save space in your kitchen.
Oven baked chiacchiere
Then to cook chiacchiere in the oven, arrange the pieces onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake in a preheated oven at 350F or 180C for about 8 minutes. They are light and crunchy this way.
Then arrange them onto a serving platter in layers, and dust them with powdered sugar, adding more layers till you run out of chiacchiere.
To deep fry them, bring the frying oil to 340F or 170C and fry for about 1 minute each, turning them around after 30 to 40 seconds.
Chiacchiere should be very light, crispy and be full of bubbles. As you can see here they bubble up perfectly because we folded the dough a few times, and because we rolled it very thinly.
Then when you take them out of the oil, they should be lightly golden. Do not overcook them or they’ll absorb too much oil. Let the oil drip, then arrange them onto a cooling rack lined with kitchen paper, and keep frying.
Deep frying takes a bit of practice, but if you follow all our tips you’ll master it in no time. Most important of all is the oil temperature!
Then as your cooling rack fills up, you can transfer some of the angel wings onto a serving platter, and arrange them in layers.
Dust each layer with powdered sugar, and repeat, then all you are left to do is serve the to your friends and family that will be absolutely blown away to know that these little things are 100% plant based.
- Let the dough rest or you won't be able to roll it out thin.
- Roll the dough very thin: chiacchiere must be thin and crispy. For this to happen the dough needs to be rolled very thin. If you put your hand behind the rolled dough, you should be able to see your hand.
- Fold while rolling: folding and layering the dough makes it even crispier and full of bubbles. We tested with folding and without folding and we strongly recommend to fold.
- Which shape? You can get creative with the shape. Stripes, squares, knots and ribbons, it doesn't matter. In Italy every family uses a different shape.
Questions & Answers
Chiacchiere come from an ancient roman dessert called fricitilia. Already back during Roman times, this dish was made around February to celebrate Saturnali, a Roman holiday similar to modern carnival.
Each region in Italy has its own name for chiacchiere. Bugie, cenci, cioffe, cresciole, crostoli, cunchielli, fiocchetti, frappe, frappole, galani, galarane, gale, gasse, guanti, intrigoni, lattughe, maraviglias, sfrappe, sfrappole, sossole, sprelle, stracci, and many others.
Our vegan Italian chiacchiere are best eaten on the same day for best crunch. however, you can store them in a plastic bag, air tight, for up to 3 days.
Despite the many different names, Italian chiacchiere are actually quite similar all around Italy. However, there are some difference and variations, mainly on:
Type of liqueur used: depending on the regions Italians use different types of liqueur in their chiacchiere. A good white wine, grappa, anice liqueur, rum, alchermes, vinsanto, cognac, and even marsala and limoncello are a popular choice.
Shape: it doesn't really matter! Squares, rectangles, ribbons, long thin stripes, squares with cuts in the middle, with rose shape. Chiacchiere can really take any shape you want to give them.
Topping: the most popular way to serve chiacchiere is with powdered sugar on top. Other popular ways are drizzled with Alchermes, a red liqueur, or drizzled with honey (agave syrup for vegan alternative) and orange or lemon zest.
Chiacchiere - Italian Carnival Sweets
- Pasta cutter
- Rolling pin (or pasta machine)
- 1⅔ cups (250 grams) cake flour
- 2½ tablespoons (30 grams) sugar
- ¼ cups (60 grams) water
- 3 tablespoons (40 grams) white wine or orange juice
- 2½ tablespoons (30 grams) oil canola, sunflower seed, or other
- 1 lemon grated zest
- 1 pinch salt
- To a bowl add sugar, water, oil, white wine, lemon zest and mix together with a spatula. Now add in the flour and a pinch of salt and mix till you get a dough ball.
- Transfer to a worktop and knead with your hands for 5 minutes until you get a smooth dough ball. Let rest at room temperature for 1 hour, covered with a cloth.
- Cut the dough into two pieces, then roll it out very thinly. You should almost be able to see through the dough. You can use a rolling pin or a pasta machine.While you roll it out, fold it on its own 3 to 5 times. This will make the chiacchiere lighter, crispier and full of bubbles.
- With a pasta cutter, cut stripes of dough that are about 4 inches long and 1½ inches wide (10 x 3 cm).Alternatively you can do whatever shape you like. See our pictures to get inspired.
- Oven baked: cook in the oven for 8 minutes at 360F or 180C.Deep-fry: fry in oil for 30 seconds on each side. Oil temperature at 340F or 170C. Set aside on a tray with kitchen paper.
- Arrange on a serving platter and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
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Did you try this recipe at home? Let us know in the comments below.