What seems like ages ago, I worked with an incredible woman named Pamela. Her family lived in the area and they were kind enough to include me in many of their activities and events. Their circle of friends includes many Italians so of course I was in heaven.These people were old school - they make their own wine, make their own sausage and regularly crank out taralli, the most heavenly cracker you will ever taste. Taralli were ever-present at every celebration, small bowls of them piled high around the house. Shaped like little rings, these morsels of heaven are first boiled and then baked, like traditional bagels. They are crunchy and can be plain or flavored with fennel seed, black pepper or crushed red pepper. They are a perfect accompaniment to cheese and wine. Pammi’s birthday is today so I made some for her. Even though she is far away, I wanted her to know that I am thinking of her. Auguri Pamela!
Here is the recipe we used if you would like to make some on your own.
Traditional Taralli Recipe from Puglia
(recipe courtesy of Anita's Italy: http://blog.italian-connection.com)
Prep Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Yield: About 100 taralli
- 4 cups (1 lb, 500 grams) flour
- 1 tsp (10 grams) salt
- 2/3 cup (150 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup (200 ml) dry white wine
- optional spices:
- 1-2 tsp fennel seeds or cracked black pepper
- In a large bowl, mix the flour and salt.
- Add the oil and wine, and mix with a fork until the dough forms into a rough mass.
- Dump the dough onto a wooden board and knead it for about 5 minutes, until it is smooth.
- If you want to add any optional spices, knead them into the dough (or divide the dough and add spice to ½ of the dough) - knead well to distribute the spice.
- Cover the dough and let it rest, along with your arms, for 15-30 minutes.
- Pinch walnut-sized pieces of dough, roll first between your hands, and then against the wooden cutting board, so that the dough forms a thin rope, about ½ inch (1 cm) in diameter and 4” long (10 cm).
- Shape each rope into a ring, and seal the edges together by pressing lightly, then set aside the taralli rings on a wooden board and cover with a towel.
- In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Put 6-10 of the taralli into the boiling water, and when they float to the surface - this will only take 30-60 seconds - remove them with a slotted spoon and place them on a cloth to dry and cool.
- Tip: Try not to plop one tarallo on top of another when dropping them into the pot, and if they stick to the bottom, give them a gentle nudge with the slotted spoon
- Put the cooled taralli on baking sheets and bake in a preheated oven at 375°F (200°C) for about 25 minutes, until golden.
- Remove and cool on racks.
- Store in a closed container to keep them crisp, and serve with an aperitivo – they are the a nice accompaniment for the rest of that dry white wine – or pile them into a breadbasket at dinner.
Feel free to leave a comment and let me know a dish you make for that special friend or family member. True love is really expressed through cooking!