At least once every two weeks, my Italian grandmother would tell me, “Lo tio fatto un sacco di taralli.” She was telling me she had made me a batch of tarallis.
My grandmother emigrated from Naples about 50 years ago, bringing with her a traditional taralli recipe. Tarallis are a popular Italian snack food with a texture similar to bread sticks or pretzels.
Ever since I can remember, this dish has been a staple at all my family meals.
When I was a child, my grandmother used to watch me while my parents were at work. To keep me busy, she would sit me on some old phone books, give me a chunk of dough and teach me to knead the dough, making it round and oval.
“Devi tennare pacienza Sabrina, per far cresce la pasta,” she would say. As I watched her tiny hands make the delicious treat, she was teaching me that time and patience are important virtues in the kitchen.
No matter how often my family eats tarallis, we never seem to tire of the savoury homemade snack. It is a simple recipe with basic ingredients, one secret 8212; fennel 8212; and of course, Nonna’s love.
1 Â½ cups water
1 Â½ cups white wine
1 Â½ cups vegetable oil
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
One bag yeast (individual sachet from box of Fleischmann’s yeast)
1 tbsp fennel
4-6 cups flour
1. Mix all ingredients and knead until dough is intact.
2. Let rest for an hour under aluminum bowl (to avoid it sticking) and then knead again.
Let rest for another 30 minutes.
3. Once the dough has risen, knead once more, then roll the dough out and cut it into smaller pieces.
4. With the smaller pieces of dough, knead them until they are thin enough to turn up and make them oval.
5. Boil a pot of water and drop the uncooked tarallis (a few at a time) into the water, once they come up to the surface (should take a couple of minutes) take them out.
6. Preheat oven at 350 degrees, put the boiled tarallis on any standard baking pan and bake for about an hour, flipping them every 15 minutes until golden brown.
Tarallis are best served with coffee, milk or wine.