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Do you know how the recipe for gluten-free Carnival Fried Tortelli came about? By pure chance, while experimenting with doughs for the Cicerchiata cooked live with the Rieti and Viterbo Chamber of Commerce! Among various combinations of flour, egg and sugar, having obtained a beautiful smooth and firm dough, I thought I would try making Tortelli with plum jam.

The result? Delicious fried Carnival Tortelli! And it’s a good thing I had written down all the weights of the ingredients, otherwise I would have missed out on the doses for an ideal dough for a traditional recipe that has always been prepared in my family (usually in a version with gluten) for Mardi Gras.

Here are other recipes you can prepare for Carnival: Cicerchiata, Fried cream e Krapfen with jam.

Gluten-free Carnival Fried Tortelli

54g carbohydrates per 100g

Ingredients for 10 Tortelli

  • 150g plum jam*, very firm
  • 100g gluten-free flour mix for bread, brand BiAglut**
  • 100g gluten-free bread flour, brand Mix B Schär**
  • 2 eggs
  • 20-30g milk (add it gradually)
  • 25g sugar
  • 15g butter
  • lemon rind
  • sunflower seed oil for deep frying

Preparation

  1. Pour the eggs into a bowl, beat them with a fork together with the sugar, add the soft butter and lemon zest. Gradually incorporate the flour, stirring with a fork until the mixture is firm enough to knead with your hands. Add enough milk to obtain a firm mixture, then transfer to a cutting board and knead with your hands until you obtain a smooth, homogeneous and non-sticky dough.
  2. Cover it with cling film and let it rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 5mm, place a teaspoon of very firm plum jam on top of the pastry, cover with another layer and cut out the Tortelli with the mould provided. Continue until everything is used up.
  4. Heat the seed oil to a temperature of 170-180°C and deep-fry a few Tortelli at a time, using a skimmer to flip them so that they brown evenly. Drain them well on paper towels.

tortelli-dolci-di-carnevale

Version with gluten of Carnival Fried Tortelli

Replace the BiAglut and Schär flours with equal amounts of 00 wheat flour and adjust the amount of milk added.

This idea for gluten-free carnival sweets came to me from my friends at the Rieti and Viterbo Chamber of Commerce, who, keeping alive an initiative conceived during the Covid-19 pandemic, organised FB lives from theOsteria Le Tre Porte in Rieti to publicise the products of the area by sending to bloggers and journalists throughout Italy the ingredients to prepare various dishes including Cicerchiata.

When I received the information about the recipes we would prepare together, I had not imagined that Cicerchiata would be a dessert. Instead, in the province of Rieti, it is the traditional Carnival dessert inspired by Campania’s ‘Struffoli‘. The traditional form is that of a garland, which is obtained by pouring the sweets into a doughnut mould, while I’m proposing a mini-serving version so as not to be tempted to eat too much of it.

Given the fundamental role of honey in this recipe, it seems that the spread of Cicerchiata is linked to the development of bee-keeping in this area of Italy, while the name is presumed to derive from the legume grass peas of which the sweet balls of dough reproduce the shape and colour, so Cicerchiata would be a nice ‘stack of grass peas’.

Like many Carnival sweets, Circerchiata symbolises regeneration through its circular shape, the frying that turns a cold dough into a delicacy, and the vitality of honey and colourful decorations.

A tip for those of us who have to be careful with both fried food and simple sugars? Form very small balls, just like dried chickpeas, and reduce the amount of honey to the minimum necessary to hold the precious compositions together.

Here are a few more ideas for Carnival: Krapfen with jam e Fried cream.

cicerchiata

Cicerchiata

60g carbohydrates per 100g without candied fruit and coloured sprinkles

Ingredients

  • 160g flour mix for bread, brand BiAglut**
  • 2 eggs + 15g egg white
  • 100g honey
  • 40g brown rice flour*
  • 25g sugar
  • 20g butter
  • lemon rind
  • slivered almonds*
  • candied fruit*
  • coloured sprinkles*

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Pour the eggs into a bowl, beat them with a fork together with the sugar, add the soft butter and lemon zest. Gradually incorporate the flour, stirring with a fork until the mixture is firm enough to knead with your hands. Transfer everything onto the work surface and continue kneading with your hands until you obtain a smooth and homogeneous dough, similar to fresh pasta.
  2. Divide the dough into small portions, form them into sticks of dough having a diameter of about 8mm as for making Gnocchi, then cut them into chunks no more than 8mm-1cm long. Round the pieces of dough with your fingers to form small balls.
  3. Heat the seed oil to a temperature of 170-180°C and deep fry a few balls at a time. When they are golden brown, drain them well and let them cool on kitchen paper.
  4. Meanwhile, pour the honey into a large pan and heat it gently for a few minutes. When it has browned slightly, turn off the heat and add the fried balls, stirring to coat them evenly. Finally, add the almonds and sprinkles, taking care to keep some aside for decoration. Mix again, pour the mixture into the desired moulds, garnish with the almonds and sprinkles kept aside and serve.

Cicerchiata

Version with gluten of Cicerchiata

Replace BiAglut flour and rice flour with 250g wheat flour 00 and add 30g sugar instead of 25g.

Krapfens with jam are one of my absolute favourite Carnival sweets, so much so that every year I force myself to make them only at Carnival, a resolution I never manage to keep!

In my family tradition, Krapfen are always prepared with potatoes and strictly with homemade plum jam, another preparation that is a must when the plums ripen on the numerous trees that colour our farm.

However, if you prefer to fill Krapfen with custard, you can do this using a pastry syringe once you have fried a single disc, perhaps left slightly thicker than in the recipe below.

So along with Chiacchiere and  Fried Creamit is a joy for me to share these irresistible Krapfens that you will enjoy at every bite… maybe even licking your fingers.

Krapfens with jam

carbohydrates 37.91g per 100g of krapfen without sugar on the surface

Ingredients

  • 500g potatoes
  • 280g plum jam*
  • 250g gluten-free cake flour mix, brand Molino Dallagiovanna**
  • 250g gluten-free bread flour mix, brand BiAglut**
  • 120g milk
  • 65g butter
  • 50g sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 30g brewer’s yeast
  • grated rind of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • frying oil and caster sugar for the surface

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

*Ingredients whose labels must read “gluten-free” (or, in Italy, present on  Prontuario AIC)

Preparation

  1. Knead all ingredients together until you have a smooth dough with a fairly firm texture. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1cm and cut disks of about 8cm in diameter. Place the plum jam on half of the discs, then close them with the remaining discs, taking care to seal the edges well, perhaps wetting them lightly with a finger moistened with water to make the dough ‘stick’.
  2. Let the Krapfen rest for 1.5 hours, then deep-fry them in plenty of oil and roll in caster sugar before serving.
La frittura dei krapfen

The frying of Krapfen

 

I krapfen pronti per essere gustati

Krapfens ready to be enjoyed

Version with gluten of Krapfens with jam

Replace the gluten-free flour (500g) with an equal amount of wheat flour and mix with just 100g milk and 2 whole eggs and 1 yolk.