Cartellate are crisp pastry spirals that are drizzled with honey. They are sometimes called
the "dahlias of Saint Nicholas" because of their color and shape and also their association
with the nuns of the hospice for pilgrims of Saint Nicholas of Bari. At one time honey was
expensive and not always available, so cooks used a syrup made from figs to drizzle over the
cartellate. Alternatively, the pastries were drizzled with mostocotto (grape must or juice
cooked down to a thick, sweet syrup.) Our recipe calls for honey, but if you would like a
truly traditional version of cartellate try them with the fig syrup or mosto cotto.
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup water
Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup honey *
In a large bowl, combine the flour, oil, salt and cinnamon.
Slowly add the water, and beat until a dough forms.
Use more or less water just to get a dough that holds together.
Shape the dough into a ball.
Wrap in plastic and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces.Dust each piece with flour.
Pass it through a pasta machine set at the widest opening.
Pass each piece through successive settings until thin.
On a manual pasta machine, stop at setting #6.
Place each pasta strip on a lightly floured surface.
With a fluted pastry cutter, cut the dough into strips 10 x 1-1/4 inches.
Fold each strip in half lengthwise but do not press it together.
With the wavy edges up, wind the strips into loose spirals about 2 inches wide.
Pinch the edges to seal. Place on an oiled baking sheet.
Let the pinwheels dry at room temperature for 2 hours.
Heat oil in a deep fryer to 370 degrees F.
Carefully add a few pinwheels at a time to the oil.
Fry until evenly golden, about 1 minute.
Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate.
Heat honey in a small saucepan until it thins.
Arrange the cartellate on a large platter. Drizzle with the warm honey.
Best served immediately or within a few hours.
* Fig syrup or mosto cotto may also be heated and drizzled over the cartellate
in lieu of the honey.