It all began with the intention of making Crostoli, an absolute favourite of mine made by my Nonna, super thin, crispy pastry dusted in sugar.
(Source: Merci Mama) My Cenci
There was one problem, as a uni student living in an apartment 2 hours away from my family home, I had no access to my Italian mothers wedding present / pasta machine thus knew I would not get the lightness of the pastry with a rolling pin, so I found a similar yet different version of this Crostoli called CENCI, a biscuit version eaten during Carnivale time also a recipe included in Pellegrino Artusi’s ‘La Scienza in Cucina e L’arte di Mangiar Bene’.
We’ll start with joys of the dish, I didn’t have too much faith in my pastry making abilities but I was excited to attempt this, that was all the joy I managed until my pastry cooked properly!
Look to be perfectly honest, do you know how straining it is on your muscles mixing dough without a hand mixer? It’s straining, the ladies of the 19th century would have had arms of steel! Other than this minor obstacle, I had an issue when it came to kneading the dough, my dough was far too sticky, I added some flour and it was better. Rolling out the dough thin enough was also a challenge, it was elastic and would only roll manually to a certain thickness, thicker than I would have liked!
Then came the biggest unseen challenge, getting the oil to the right temp. in order to get them crispy but cooked through, unfortunately for me the dough was a bit too thick which resulted in a more donut like ‘biscuit’ but still maintained a crostoli like taste. Yay.
The whole experience was a challenge really!
I presented these simple biscuits/ now donuts simply dusted in icing sugar. Judging by half the container being gone they were taken on well by the others at the Food Fair and I got a few nice feedbacks. A rewarding experience.