These Italian Frappe or also known as Chiacchiere or Bugie are a crunchy fried or baked pastry dusted with powdered sugar. One of the most delicious Italian Carnevale treats.
Frappe, Chiacchiere, Burgie or Nothings are just a few names for these simple thin fried dough strips that are everywhere at this time of the year in Italy.
While a lot of places are sharing their heart-shaped cookies and cakes, here in Italy we are eating and baking these tasty treats that are offered only at this time of the year, which is Carnevale.
Between Frappe and Castagnole I don’t know which is my favourite.Frappe are really quite easy to make, using a simple flaky dough. Although the dough must to be rolled very thin. The thinner they are the more they will puff up while frying.
This is the time a pasta maker comes in handy. But even if you don’t have a machine it is a good workout for your arms. The calories you burn rolling the dough and you can have a few more frappe!
How to make them
How to Fry
Choose the correct oil, Peanut oil is considered the best because it has a delicate flavour. I usually use an oil specifically made for frying. Make sure you use enough oil, food should be able to move freely and not stick to the bottom. A good rule is fill the pot to half full or at least 2 – 3 inches of oil.
Be sure to heat your oil before frying, I always use a thermometer. You could also try by throwing in the pan a crouton or a piece of carrot. If it starts to sizzle and forms a lot of bubbles around it, then the oil is ready to start frying.
Although I don’t like this way, because it is hard to tell if your oil gets too hot, then the food fries too quickly, when the oil is not hot enough then the food does not cook on the inside. Make sure the oil does not exceed 330-350F (170-175C).
Always fry a few pieces at a time, because too many together can lower the temperature of the oil. Which can leave the food less crispy and greasier. Place fried food on a paper towel lined plate to remove excess oil.
There are different variations for making a chiacchiere recipe, such as adding a tablespoon of grappa or rum, marsala or even brandy. Some Italians like to add a teaspoon of lemon zest to the dough, and some even like to make different shapes with the dough, such as squares, a knotted strip etc.
Traditionally powdered sugar is sprinkled on the finished frappe but you could also use granulated sugar, cane sugar or even drizzle some melted chocolate.
Can they be baked?
Yes they can be baked, place the rolled out frappe on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake in a pre-heated oven at 350F (180C) for approximately 10 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
What is Carnevale?
Carnevale is a celebration that lasts approximately two weeks and ends on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday or as some of us know it as Pancake Tuesday/Shrove Tuesday. It is mostly a time for children to dress in costumes and have rides around the towns of Italy throwing confetti. Unfortunately this year has again been cancelled, hopefully next year!
When did the Chiacchiere / Frappe originate?
They have an ancient tradition that probably dates back to that of the Roman Times when they were called Frictilia, these were sweets fried in pork fat that were also prepared during the Carnival period. They were produced in large quantities since they had to last for the entire period of Lent.
Unfortunately I have to be honest and say these Italian Frappe are fried and they taste great, nothing like indulging once in a while. Drizzled with melted chocolate, or dusted with powdered sugar or just throw all caution to the wind and go for both! Enjoy!
Italian Frappe / Sweet Fritters
FOR THE FRAPPE
- 1 ½ cups all purpose flour (195 grams)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2-3 ounces Chocolate melted for drizzling (75 grams)
- 2-3 tablespoons powdered / icing sugar for sprinkling
- In a medium-sized bowl or bowl of the food processor* whisk together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder, add the egg, egg yolk and butter, combine until the dough is almost combined. If making by hand then use a fork to combine.
- Remove from the bowl/food processor place on lightly floured flat surface and knead to form a smooth compact dough (it should not be sticky). Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
- Remove from fridge and taking 1/4 of the dough at a time roll into a very thin rectangle or square, cut into approximately 2-3 inch sizes and fry in a pot of hot vegetable oil (approximately 2-3 inches (5-8 cm) of oil, temperature must reach 340-350F (170-175C) and try to stay at this temperature or they could burn). Fry until golden turning the frappe over while frying. Remove to drain and cool on a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or drizzle with melted chocolate. Enjoy!
*You could probably use a standing mixer with the flat beater attached.