Mamma Ines’ Crostoli

This is a recipe and video of an Italian appetizer served in homes during the Lenten period

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Crostoli Recipe

INGREDIENTS
2 cups flourpinch salt (approx. ¼ tsp)
½ tsp baking powder
2 tablespoon sugar2 whole eggs
zest of 1 lemon or orange
(+ juice if need . . . if dough is dry)
2 T (1oz/30g) melted butter 
1 T Grappa
1 T rum flavouring
1 Tsp vanilla

2 cups oil for frying (canola, vegetable
or grapeseed)
powdered sugar (for dusting)

To make the Crostoli dough – hand mixing method

  1. Place the flour on a clean work surface.
  2. Make a well in the center. Add the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, butter, brandy, vanilla and salt.
  3. Use your fingertips or a fork to gradually blend the wet ingredient slowly gathering in flour until the dough starts to come together.
  4. Knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If the dough is too wet, add flour (a bit at a time). If the dough is too dry, add lemon or orange juice (a bit at a time).
  5. Rest the dough for 30 minutes.

To make the Crostoli dough – stand mixer method

  1. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, place the flour and baking powder and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl hand mix together the eggs, citrus zest and juice, sugar, butter, grappa, rum flavouring, and vanilla. Add these “wet” ingredients to your flour mixture in the stand mixer. Mix on low setting until combined.
  3. Switch to dough hook attachment and knead for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic (or knead by hand). If the dough is too wet, add flour (a bit at a time). If the dough is too dry, add lemon or orange juice (a bit at a time).
  4. Rest the dough for 30 minutes.   

To roll and prepare Crostoli for frying

  1.  
  2. After the dough has rested, it should be smooth, soft and lightly spring back from a light touch. Basically it should be the same consistency as a woman’s breast.
  3. Cut a small portion of dough and flatten it slightly in preparation for feeding it through the pasta machine.
  4. Pass the piece of dough through the pasta machine on the widest setting (#8 setting).
  5. Fold and pass it again through the widest setting. Continue to fold and pass through the pasta machine 5 or 6 times (shifting to smaller setting each time) until the dough is smooth.
  6. Dust strips of dough (if necessary) with extra flour to prevent sticking.
  7. Reduce the pasta machine settings until you are at a “fine” setting. We found that setting #2 or #3 (depending on your machine) is acceptable. The dough should be almost transparent.
  8. When you have reached the “fine” setting of #2 or #3, pass the dough through the setting twice and then place the length of dough onto a work surface.
  9. Cut the dough across the length into about 2-inch wide strips which will be approximately 3-5 inches long. This is just a suggestion. Size and shape is up to you.

Make a small cut in the middle of each piece and feed one end through the cut to obtain the traditional appearance (see photo above).

Frying the Crostoli

  1. We use an electric frying pan because it makes it easy to control the heat. If you don’t have one, you will need a heavy, high sided frypan and having a cooking partner to help for this step of the process wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
  2. When the oil is hot (375°F) fry several crostoli at a time (depending on the diameter of the frypan). If you place too many in the pan at once remember that the temperature of your oil will drop.
  3. Work quickly as they cook quickly (about half a minute or so). When they become light golden in color, flip them to ensure they cook on both sides. If your crostoli are light brown, they are burnt.
  4. Once they are cooked on both sides, drain the crostoli on paper towels. They will become crisper as they cool. If it takes too long to cook your crostoli that means your oil is not hot enough; causing the crostoli to absorb oil.
  5. When cool, dust generously with powdered sugar.
  6. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks (although they never last that long at our house!).

Recommended wine: Italian dessert wine such as Vin Santo or a good quality Italian Grappa or an Italian liqueur such as Amaretto Disaronno or Frangelico.

HOW TO MAKE LIGHT and DELICATE CROSTOLI:

  • Ensure your dough is smooth and soft . . . not sticky!
  • Roll the dough as thin as possible; using a pasta machine is of benefit for this step.
  • Ensure your oil is hot (375°F); ensuring the crostoli cook quickly (not absorbing oil).
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