The Tuscan Carnival, a very significant celebration in our land, is a festival that is mostly celebrated in the countries of Christian tradition, and especially in those of the Catholic tradition. It is the happiest festival of the year, during which it is permissible to indulge in small follies. A Carnival without its masks, jokes, the bright colors and of course its sweets and flavors is not even imaginable. The word Carnival comes from the Latin "carnem levare", which means “removing/not eating meat ". It, in fact, indicated the banquet that was held immediately before the period of abstinence of the Lent. The traditional Tuscan cuisine of the Carnival is related to the preparation of certain precise types of sweets: sweets made of fried dough.
The most classic are the “Cenci” (or “Chiacchiere” or “Stracci”), prepared from a mixture of flour, water, eggs, butter and sugar, rolled in thin pastry and fried. All the Carnival sweets of Tuscany, in addition to the characteristic of being fried, are characterized by the fact that they are made with very simple ingredients, as it once was. In addition to the “Cenci” in Tuscany we prepare the “Castagnole” (or “Brighelle”), round shaped and usually filled with custard, and the “Frittelle” that in addition to the usual ingredients above mentioned also include milk, lemon and liquor, which give it a very special flavor.
And for those who can not resist here is the recipe for the famous “Cenci”:
Flour gr 350
Butter gr 50
Sugar gr 75
1 coffee cup
Rind of 1 lemon
Rind of 1 orange
Juice of half an orange
3 teaspoons baking powder
Add the yeast to the flour and mix thoroughly. Add already beaten eggs, sugar, Vinsanto, the grated rind of lemon, of orange and the orange juice, and mix everything, first with a fork and then with your hands. Then wrap the dough with transparent paper and let stand for at least 2 hours. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, cut into thin strips (about 3 cm wide rectangles) and then fry them in hot oil: put them in the pan, turn them and remove them immediately.
BUON APPETITO, we will wait for you in Tuscany to taste Carnival sweets !!!