If we said "Grostoli", what would come to your mind?
It sounds like a difficult word from a dialect of a remote valley, but what we are going to tell you now will surprise you: "Grostoli" are nothing more than the Trentino's version of the "Chiacchiere" sweet's recipe, one of the typical carnival foods. According to the original recipe, they are presented as delicate, crispy and fragrant sheets covered in icing sugar.
Their classic rectangular shape with two central cuts makes this dessert unmistakable in the windows of pastry's and bakeries' shops and immediately attracts the gluttony of young and old alike. One pulls the other and a chat becomes immediately more cheerful when accompanied....by "Chiacchiere"!
"Frappe", "Bugie", "Cenci", maybe these names sound more familiar to you, right? Oh yes, in Italy it's all one "village you'll go to, dialect you'll find": "Crostoli", "Sossole", "Risóle", "Flancati" in the North, "Cioffe", "Cresciole", "Frappole", "Sfrappe", "Strufoli" in the Centre and "Cunchiellì", "Guanti", "Papuglie" in the South.
The basis for the making of the "Chiacchiere" sweet's recipe is a mixture of flour, butter, sugar and eggs, together with an alcoholic component that can vary from distillate, grappa, liqueur or spirits to brandy and from "marsala", "sambuca" to "vinsanto".
Once the dough has been created, it is cut into strips which are then manipulated until they form a knot, in some parts of the Country.
These sweets are baked by frying them to make them nice and crispy, although baked sweets are much preferred as they are considered healthier.
For their presentation, they are covered with a fine dusting of icing sugar, but there are also different versions depending on the area: covered with honey, dark chocolate and icing sugar, whipped and sweetened "Mascarpone" cheese or dipped in liqueur.
Let's take a closer look at the ingredients and the procedure for preparing the "Chiacchiere" sweet's recipe.
INGREDIENTS FOR 40 CHIACCHIERE:
500 g 00 flour
70 g of sugar
50 g of butter at room temperature
50 ml of milk
30 g of grappa or liqueur
6 g baking powder
1 tablespoon caster sugar
3 whole eggs
1 vanilla pod
zest of ½ lemon
fine salt as needed
Icing sugar as needed
peanut oil as needed
To start preparing the "Chiacchiere"'s recipe, sift the flour and add the yeast. Pour the mixture into the planetary mixer with a paddle attachment.
Beat the 3 whole eggs until the mixture is stringy and free of lumps and then add them in the dough.
Once the flour and yeast are mixed together, add the sugar, salt, grappa, milk and lemon zest.
Run the mixer until the ingredients are well combined.
In the planetary mixer, replace the leaves with the hook, add the seeds of the vanilla pod and the butter to the mixture and knead it all together for 15 minutes, until a homogeneous dough is obtained that is firm but also quite malleable. If necessary, add 5/10 g water.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and handle it quickly to give it a spherical shape.
Wrap the dough with cling film and leave it to rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
After this time, divide the dough into portions of about 150 g and start working each one individually. Slightly flatten a first portion with the palm of your hand, flour it and roll it out with a pastry board set to the widest thickness.
Fold the short sides of the strip of dough towards the centre, then roll it out again, each time setting the pastry roller to a smaller and smaller thickness, until you reach 2 mm. Carry out the same procedure on all the portions of dough.
Let the rolled out pastry rest for a few minutes and in the meantime bring the oil to a temperature of 150-160°.
Using a scalloped cutter, cut out rectangles measuring approximately 5 x 10 cm and make two central cuts in each rectangle, parallel to the long side.
As soon as the oil has reached the right temperature, dip 2-3 puff pastry rectangles in the oil using a skimmer and cook them, turning them on both sides, until they are golden brown.
Drain the sheets on absorbent paper and, when cold, plate them and sprinkle them with plenty of sifted icing sugar.
Ideally, the "Chiacchiere" should be eaten as soon as they are on the plate, because it is when they are still warm that they bring out their mix of flavours to the full. If they are left over, they can be kept for two or three days in a paper bag.
Our tip for you
To obtain crumbly “Chiacchiere”, the oil for frying should not exceed 170-180°.