Cenci, lattughe, bugie… Tasty Carnival pastries!

Cenci in a Florentine Pastry Shop

Cenci in a Florentine Pastry Shop

To begin at the beginning, though the word Cencio generally means rag, come Carnevale it also means a very simple, supremely tasty pastry whose many aliases include Frappe, Chiacchere (gossips), Lattughe (lettuce leaves), Busie (lies), and Nastrini (ribbons), while Ada Boni, who borrows Pellegrino Artusi’s recipe, uses the more poetic “Lover’s Knots.” They are very pretty when carefully made, so she is probably right.

To make a batch you’ll need:

  • 1 3/4 cups (225 g) flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup confectioners sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • A pinch of salt
  • More confectioner’s sugar for dusting
  • Oil for deep frying

Make a fairly stiff dough with these ingredients, kneading it thoroughly, and adding more flour if it comes out too soft. Flour it and let it rest, covered tightly with plastic wrap, for about an hour.

Making Cenci: Dust with Powdered Sugar

Making Cenci: Dust with Powdered Sugar

Roll the dough out into an eighth-of-an-inch (3 mm) thick sheet, and use a serrated pastry wheel to cut it into strips as long as your palm and two fingers wide.

Make a cut down the middle of each cencio (so as to obtain two strips joined at the ends), twist the side strips without breaking them, fry them in hot oil or lard, and dust them with confectioners sugar when they’re cool.

This recipe, Artusi says, is sufficient to make a platterful. He finishes up with, “Should the dough have formed a crust while it sat, knead it again before you roll it out.”

This Recipe, Illustrated

Frittelle di Riso, Rice Fritters: Another Carnival Treat


Tags: , , ,

Categories: Biscotti and other Sweet Treats, Holiday dishes

Author:Cosa Bolle in Pentola

Italy boasts an astonishing number of varietals, denominations, and wines, and tremendous changes are sweeping the land. New wines are being created, new DOCs are being introduced, and the existing denominations are overhauling their regulations both to reflect the practices adopted by their member wineries and to favor improvements in quality. Even the most staid and stolid region can flower seemingly overnight, emerging with exciting new wines and wineries that require rewriting the enological maps and rethinking one's positions. And, of course, recipes too, because cuisine and wine are closely intertwined and it's difficult to imagine one without the other.


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One Comment on “Cenci, lattughe, bugie… Tasty Carnival pastries!”

  1. January 7, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

    I could not resist commenting. Perfectly written!

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