Posts Tagged ‘carnival in italy’

Classic Treats for Carnevale

February 8, 2010

Fresh Cenci: the Cookies of Carnevale

Italians celebrate everything with food and Carnevale is no exception. One of the simplest joys of the Carnevale season in Italy is cenci.  These are fried cookies that are available in every pasticceria and bar and grandmother’s kitchen.  Not only are they easy to make, but they also happen to be highly addictive…be forewarned if you happen to make these and plop yourself in front of the TV with a DVD it is very possible to finish the whole batch.  It’s more possible to finish the whole batch if you take the bottle of Vin Santo with you from the kitchen to the TV.

This is one of those recipes that also offers the happy convenience that you likely have virtually everything in your kitchen already…maybe not the Vin Santo, but then you have an excuse to go buy more wine.


1   cup all-purpose flour
3   tbs butter (melted)
2   tbs granulated sugar
1   egg
2   tbs Vin Santo (you can substitute rum)
1   tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Oil for frying (I like sunflower)
Confectioners sugar
Place the flour in a medium-sized bowl  and add the other ingredients slowly, mixing well. Form a dough and knead the dough for a minute or two. Cover the dough with cellophane and allow to rest for an hour. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured board until thin.  Using a fluted pasty wheel, cut  the pastry into strips, or  simply use a knife and cut into strips about 8 inches long and 1/2 inch wide, and tie each strip into a knot.  Heat your oil to 375F and fry the strips a few at a time until golden.
As you remove from the oil, place the cookies on a plate covered with paper towels to absorb any excess oil.  When they have dried slightly, sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar.
These cookies do not have a long lifespan, therefore you will be forced to consume them rapidly…within two days…and hopefully with a tasty Vin Santo.
Buona Festa and enjoy Mardi Gras!!!