Carnival time is by far the fattiest period of the year. So many different local sweets are prepared in this period, they only have one thing in common: they are all fried either in lard or in oil!! From Latin carnem levare (eliminate meat), the word Carnival’s strict sense was to indicate the feast of Fat Tuesday, the last day of celebration before the 40 days of Lent, which started with Ash Wednesday. Emilia-Romagna’s Carnival recipe book is insanely fat. Here are some recipes:
FRAPPE OR SFRAPPOLE
Sfrappole are very old sweets, popular in the Bologna area and in the whole region. They stem from Roman frictilias and are characterized by a very thin sheet of sweet puff pastry that is fried in oil and sprinkled with icing sugar. Here’s the recipe: 2 eggs, 200 grams of flour, 1 liter of peanut seed oil, icing sugar. Make the pastry as this as you can with your rolling pin (or with the manual machine). Use a knife or a pastry cutter to cut rhombuses of approximately 4 x 15 cm. Fry in hot oil (but not too hot, or they will get burned). When the rhombuses are gold-coloured on both sides, drain the oil off using absorbent paper and sprinkle with icing sugar!
They date back to the farmers’ tradition in the Appenines, but they are very popular all over. Here’s how to make them: 200 grams of flour, 2 eggs, 4 tbsp of white sugar, 1 orange, peanut seed oil (enough to fry), icing sugar to sprinkle. Make a dough out of flour and eggs. Make an medium-thick sheet and dip it in thw white sugar and the orange zeste. Roll the pastry sheet and cut slices of approximately 1 cm. Don’t unroll the little “nests” that will come out and simply dip-fry them as they are. When fried, pull out and drain the oil off. Put the tagliatelle on a tray, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve cold.
RICE SWEET BALLS
These delicious sweets are come from Ravenna. They are cooked in milk and were once prepared using leftovers. Here’s the recipe: 200 grams of rice, milk, 1 tbsp flour, 1 egg, a pinch of salt, a drop of Marsala or grappa, sugar, lard or peanut seed oil. Cook the rice in sugared milk until it becomes well cooked and creamy. Add the other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Heat the oil in the pan and use a spoon to pour small amounts of dough in the oil so that they form small balls-shaped doughnuts. Fry them until they are gold-coloured and turn them to fry them on both sides. Drain the oil off and use kitchen paper to dry them a little. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve hot.