These crunchy pastries are typically enjoyed during Italian carnevale, the last celebration before Lenten fasting, but are also popular year-round. You will need a fluted pastry cutter and a pasta machine for this recipe.
- 2 eggs
- 75 g (⅓ cup) caster sugar, plus extra, to sprinkle
- ½ large lemon, zested, juiced
- 2 tbsp grappa (see Note)
- 2 tbsp rum
- 1½ tbsp brandy
- 1½ tbsp dry white wine
- 80 ml (⅓ cup) milk
- 16 g sachet lievito vanigliato
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 500 g (3⅓ cups) plain flour
- sunflower oil, to deep-fry
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 25 minutes
Whisk eggs, sugar, lemon zest and juice, 2 tsp salt, alcohol and milk in a large bowl. Add lievito vanigliato, baking powder and flour, and, using a wooden spoon, mix until dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes or until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 15 minutes. Knead dough again for 5 minutes, then cover and set aside to rest for 10 minutes.
Divide dough into quarters. Working with one piece at a time, roll out on a lightly floured work surface until dough is the width of your pasta machine. Set your pasta machine at its widest setting, then feed dough through, narrowing settings on your machine one notch at a time until you reach the third thinnest setting; the dough needs to be about 2 mm thick. Using a fluted pastry cutter, cut into 12 cm x 4 cm rectangular strips. Using a small sharp knife, make a small incision in the centre of each crostoli. Repeat with remaining dough to make 80 crostoli in total.
Fill a large saucepan one-third full with oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C (or until a cube of bread turns golden in 10 seconds). Working in batches, fry crostoli, turning once, for 10 seconds or until blistered and lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. While hot, sprinkle with extra sugar. Crostoli will keep in an airtight container lined with paper towel for up to 10 days.
• Grappa is a fragrant Italian pomace brandy, available from select bottle shops.
Photography by Brett Stevens. Food preparation by Amira Georgy. Food styling by Berni Smithies.
As seen in Feast magazine, August 2014, Issue 34.