Have you ever heard of Chiacchiere? it’s a crunchy sweet pastry, and if you visit Italy in the Carnival period you easily find it.
The carnival for me has the taste of chiacchiere, those that as a child I ate on Martedì grasso in the streets of Milan showing off my little Squaw dress. In Versilia the chicchiere are called cenci, but my pleasure in tasting them does not change. It is a thin dough of flour, eggs, sugar and butter that is fried or baked in the oven and covered with sugar.
Moving from Milan to Versilia for me has brought many changes in my way of living, recurrences and traditions. A great surprise was to discover how the Viareggio Carnival is experienced. Everyone is involved, children of all ages from 0 to 99 years! The local people need all the year long to prepare the carri, giant sculptures and scenography of papier-mâché, to saw the clothes, write the music, prepare the choreographies of the ballets. All this are jobs that commit all the local community throughout the year and involve sacrifices for the glory of seeing their scenography win. And it’s party for a month!
In Camaiore there are several patisseries where you can find the Cenci from January until the end of the Carnival. The ones I prefer are the Pasticceria sul Prado (Piazza Romboni) and the Caffè Del Dotto bar (Via Vittorio Emanuele). Want to try to make them at home? find the recipe below.
500 g Flour
1 Organic vanilla yeast bag
50 g Sugar
50 g Butter
2 tablespoons of Brandy or Marsala
Pinch of salt
Zest of a biological lemon
Procedure to prepare the Carnival Chiacchiere
In a bowl or on a pastry board pour the flour into a fountain, add the sugar, baking powder, salt and lemon zest. Beat the eggs separately and then pour them on the fountain and add the liqueur and soft butter into small pieces. Mix all the ingredients together until the dough is smooth and uniform. Form three balls of dough and set aside in the refrigerator for half an hour.
Once the time has elapsed, take one third of the dough, flatten it with your hands and then proceed by spreading the dough finely with a rolling pin or with the “Imperia” pasta machine up to the penultimate notch. Divide the sheets into rectangles of about 10 x 6 cm using the pastry cutter wheel. Make two incisions inside the rectangle. Place the rags on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven at 180 ° C for a quarter of an hour. When they are warmed, sprinkle with powdered sugar.