Posts

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.

 

Carnival has arrived, and with it the desire for the delicacies that the most colourful festival of the year brings. Children eagerly await these days not only to dress up, but also to enjoy the delicious traditional sweets that most represent this occasion: Chiacchiere di Carnevale (enjoy also Fried Cream and the Krapfen).

An important note on the presence of gluten in spirits and liqueurs. Susanna Neuhold, Italian Food Area Manager of AICexplains: “EFSA, the European Food Safety Authority, following studies on distillates from cereals containing gluten, confirms that the distillation production process does not lead to the presence of gluten in the finished product, not even by contamination. Pure distillates such as cognac, gin, grappa, rum and vodka are therefore permitted. Flavoured distillates, on the other hand, may only be consumed if they are labelled ‘gluten free’. Wine and sparkling wine are always allowed’.

Precisely in order to fully experience the playful atmosphere of carnival events at the table too, I propose my version of gluten free Chiacchiere di Carneale: light, crispy and for all palates.

Chiacchiere di Carnevale

55.20g carbohydrates per 100g without icing sugar dusting

 

Ingredients for 6 servings

  • 350g gluten-free flour mix for bread, brand BiAglut**
  • 40g orange zest and juice
  • 30g sugar
  • 30g cognac or rum (approx. ½ shot)
  • 20g softened butter
  • 4 eggs (3 yolks + 1 whole egg)
  • oil for frying, icing sugar*

**Ingredients specific for celiacs

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

Preparation of Chiacchiere di Carnevale

  1. Knead all ingredients together to form a soft dough. Then cover it with cling film and let it rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
Come tagliare le Chiacchiere

How to cut Chiacchiere

  1. Once ready, roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a thickness of about 1mm and cut out 2cm wide and 8-10cm long strips with a toothed pasta cutter.
  2. Now it’s time to fry!

La frittura delle Chiacchiere

Frying ChiacchiereDeep-fry Chiacchiere in plenty of hot oil; drain them carefully and place them on blotting paper to remove any oil on the surface and for them to be crispier.

Le Chiacchiere fritte

Fried Chiacchiere

  1. Finally, dust them with icing sugar.
Le Chiacchiere pronte per essere gustate

Chiacchiere ready to be enjoyed

Version with gluten of Chiacchiere

Replace the BiAglut gluten-free flour with an equal amount of wheat flour reducing the egg yolks to 2.