Carnival is an ancient tradition still very alive in Italy. It occurs the immediate period before Easter and it is celebrated with particular culinary traditions such as thin fried pastries called “chiacchiere” that literally means “little gossips”. These sweets are popular in the carnival season especially during the Shrove Tuesday. In Tuscany, we call them Cenci that are perfect paired with our crisp rosé wine Flora.
Why the name “cenci”?
Cenci is the plural form of “cencio”, the Italian word for rag. This is because the thin pastries’ shape recalls a rag. It’s the Carnival sweets par excellence all over the country but they have different names depending on the regions. In northern Italy, especially in Piedmont and Liguria regions they are called “bugie” that literally means “lies”, or in Roma area the name is “frappe”. What we can assure you is that Cenci are very tasteful and if you want a complete experience you should pair the right wine.
The recipe of Cenci
The traditional recipe requires a very thin pastry layer scented with anise and vin santo. In order to obtain light and crunchy cenci, the recipe is:
300 gr of flour
50 gr icing sugar
A bit of baker’s ammonia
A small glass of vin santo
A bit of anice seeds
Peanut oil to fry
Soak the anise seeds in the vin santo to perfume it- if you like you can add the seeds in the dough.
Combine the ingredients, drain the seeds from the vin santo (if you leave the flavor of the rags it will be more intense, children may not like it for example)
Make a thin sheet, put some flour and cut it first into strips and then into rectangles with a wheel.
Fry Cenci in a pan with hot peanut oil until golden on both sides, dry with paper towels and sprinkle with granulated sugar.