The legendary Italian “chiacchiere”


I have been wanting to make these chiacchiere for a long LOOOOONG time. In fact ever since I moved to England all those years ago. Well,  I finally succeeded! These fried sweets are traditionally eaten in Italy during the Carnevale season (that’s to say the period just before Lent). My mother always made them without fail when I was a child so for me it has been a  trip to memory lane. Ok, technically I shouldn’t have made them as Lent started two days ago, so I’m way out of time. Still, I reckon making these chiacchiere two days too late is not going to speed my descent into hell by too much. And anyway there is always confession, I guess..:-)The truth is I was desperate to avoid marking a batch of papers from my students so what is a poor teacher going to do? Cook, that’s what. Anything to get out of marking, I am afraid.  Anyway, as I was saying these sweets are part of a variety of fried sweets Italian people eat during Carnival , which incidentally terminates with Martedì grasso (literally Fat Tuesday, but shrove Tuesday to you, English people). I am blogging them as chiacchiere, which literally means “chats” in Italian, but they are called different names, depending on the Italian region you come from. Other names they are known as are frappe, cenci, galani,bugie, just to mention a few. I have actually made two batches: one fried (the traditional way of cooking them), one baked (the healthy way). Obviously the fried varieties are the ones that taste better. The baked ones taste a bit like crackers with icing sugar on it, to be honest. Still I am blogging them both then you can decide which cooking method to go for. I am curious to see whether Candi made any sweets during Carnival.


250 gr. floor ( the OO variety, which is the one you buy to make pasta)

2 eggs

35 gr. sugar

pinch of salt

25 gr. butter, softened

2 tbspoons brandy  or similar (I used hazelnut vodka)

grated rind of a lemon

3 gr. baking powder

pinch of salt

sunflower oil to fry

icing sugar to sprinkle on top


Mix flour, salt, lemon zest, baking powder, sugar in a bowl, add the beaten eggs, stir well then incorporate the butter, cut in small pieces, and the liqueur. Knead until you have a soft dough (I used my bread kneading machine). Leave it to rest for half  an hour.

chiacchiere in the making

Divide the dough in two. Pass through a pasta machine until you end up with a long, thin strip.  I stopped at the last but one hole. Next time I might try the very last one. Cut rectangular strips (approx 10 cm. x 6 cm.) using a fluted cutter and then slash them twice in the middle vertically.

Fry them in hot oil (but not too hot or they will burn). They will puff up and become crisp.

If you want to bake them put them on a baking tray and cook them for 15 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees.

When they are cooked sprinkle them with lots of icing sugar. Enjoy!


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5 Responses to “The legendary Italian “chiacchiere””

  • Mitica Lucinaaaaaaa. Alle prelibatezze speciali si perdona il ritardo! :-)

  • Nessun ritardo Lucina!!!!
    Ti sei dimenticata di essere AMBROSIANA???
    Qui oggi è SABATO GRASSO. Noi ambrosiani iniziamo la Quaresima qualche giorno dopo, eh eh! Grande Sant’Ambrogio.
    Le faceva uguali uguali anche la mia mamma, solo che le chiamavamo “bugie”. Io non ci ho ancora provato, ed ecco qua la ricetta pronta. Grazie.
    Questo Carnevale è stata Laura a cucinare dei dolci svedesi, tipici del martedì grasso. I Semla o qualcosa del genere (Laura aiuto!), buonissimi, ma rimasti senza foto!

  • Che sollievo! Allora vuol dire che l’inferno può attendere! He he

  • P.S. Dì a Laura di bloggare i dolci svedesi ANCHE senza foto! :-)

  • Ah, dimenticavo, se vuoi fare dei dolcetti di carnevale in quaresima, la Chiesa stessa ne prevede la possibilità. Basta aspettare San Giuseppe, 19 marzo, o L’Annunciazione, 25 marzo. Feste tanto importanti che tolgono ogni mortificazione e regola quaresimale!!! :)

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