Italian Liqueurs
A liqueur is a sweet alcoholic beverage oftern flavored with fruits, herbs, spices, seeds, plants, and bark. Aperitifs and digestifs are alcoholic drinks that are generally served with meals.
Italian Fried Pastries
RECIPES
Bow Ties (Farfellette Dolci)
Carnival Fritters
Venetian Fritole
Sfinci
Not very long ago, many rural homes in southern Italy didn't have stoves with ovens, so it was impossible to
bake.  For most special occasions, families enjoyed fried treats.  Today even homes in remote areas have
ovens, but the fried pastry tradition remains.  The names and shapes of these fried delicacies differ from
region to region.  Zeppole are a traditional treat made for St. Joseph's Day which is March 19.  Fried pastries
are also a typical sweet made for Carnevale, which is similar to Mardi Gras in the US, and is the final
celebration before Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.
Carnival Fritters

Ingredients:

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon. salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 egg
2 tablespoons grappa

Vegetable oil for deep frying
Confectioners sugar for dusting
Directions:

In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
In a large bowl, combine the butter, egg, and grappa. Add the dry ingredients
and stir until the dough is stiff. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead
until smooth, about 1 minute. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough in half. Roll out each half as thinly as possible.
With a pastry cutter, cut into 4" x 1-1/2" strips.

In a deep fryer or  saucepan, heat oil to 350 degrees F. Working in batches,
add the strips to the oil and fry until puffed and golden, 1-2 minutes. Using a
slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. When completely cool, dust
with confectioner sugar. Best when served immediately, but they can be stored
at room temperature for a few days.
Bow Ties (Farfellette Dolci)
(Makes about 40)

Delicate strips of sweetened fried dough are eaten throughout Italy and are know
by a variety of regional names.  Southern Italians call them chiacchiere, meaning
gossip, because the trail of confectioners' sugar the pastries leave behind tells
the tale of what you have been eating.  Frittelle is another name used which
means a small, fried thing.  The strips are also know as nastri delle suore (nun's
ribbons), cenci (rags and tatters), crostoli in Trieste and Fruili, galani in Veneto,
and frappe in Umbria. Just as the names are different, the recipes for bow ties
vary slightly from one region to another.

Ingredients:

4  tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Vegetable oil for frying
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

Directions:

Using an electric mixer, beat together the butter, eggs, and vanilla.
On low speed, gradually add 1 cup fo flour, baking powder, and salt.
Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and knead in the remaining flour.
The dough should be smooth and elastic. Add additional flour, if the dough is too
sticky.

Divide the dough in half. Roll out one piece of the dough to about 1/8-inch thick in
a rectangular shape. Using a pastry cutter, cut the dough into strips 4 inches
long by 2 inches wide. Cut a small slit in the center of each strip. Take one end
of the strip and pull it through the slit in the center.  This will give you a bow tie
shape. Continue rolling and shaping all the dough.

Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees F. Drop a few of the bow ties into the oil.
Only fry 4 to 5 pieces at a time so they are not crowded in the oil Fry 1 to 2
minutes, until lightly browned on both sides, turning them often with a slotted
spoon. Remove the bow ties from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to
paper towels to drain. When cool, dust with confectioners' sugar.
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Venetian Fritole
Makes about 48)
These fritters are a specialty of the Veneto region of Italy, especially during
Carnevale.
Ingredients:

1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup grappa or rum
1 (3/4 ounce) package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 - 115 degrees F)
Pinch of sugar

3-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 cups milk
1 egg
1/2 cup pine nuts

Vegetable oil for deep frying
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Directions:

Soak the raisins in the grappa. Stir the yeast in the 1/4 cup warm water in a
small bowl. Add a pinch of sugar and set aside. The yeast mixture should
begin to bubble and foam in 5 to 10 minutes.

Put the flour, 2 teaspoons sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir in 1-1/4
cups milk. Add the egg and mix well. Add the yeast mixture and the remaining
milk. Continue stirring until smooth. The batter will be a very thick and slightly
lumpy.

Stir in the raisins with the grappa and pine nuts. Cover the bowl with plastic
wrap  and place it in a warm area. Allow the batter to rise for about 3 hours.

Heat oil to 375 degrees in a deep fryer. Wet a tablespoon with cold water.
Scoop up the a tablespoon of the batter, and with another spoon carefully push
the batter off the  spoon into the hot oil. Repeat with 4 or 5 more spoonfuls of
batter. Do not crowd the fritters in the oil. Cook the fritter until it has an even
deep golden brown color, about 2 minutes, turning it once or  twice during
cooking.  Remove the fritters from the oil and transfer to a paper towel-lined
plate.  While the fritters are still warm, roll them in confectioners’ sugar and
place on a platter. Fritole are best served warm.
 
 
 
Bow Ties - Farfellette Dolci
Sfinci (pronounced SFEEN-gee)
(Makes about 24)

Ingredients:

1 cup water
3/4 cup of unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1-3/4 cups flour
6 eggs
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Filling:
1-1/2 pounds ricotta cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons mini chocolate chips
4 tablespoons minced candied orange peel (optional)

Topping:
Minced pistachio nuts

Directions:

To make the sfinci:
Bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the flour and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes.
The mixture should be very dry and come away from the sides of the pan.
Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 5 minutes.
Begin adding the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
Continue to beat until the dough is very smooth.

Heat the oil in a deep fryer or large deep saucepan to 375 degrees F.
Drop spoonfuls of the dough into the oil, a few at a time, with crowding.
Cook until golden brown.  Drain on paper towels.  Cool.

To make the filling:
Press the ricotta through a sieve.  Reserve 1/4 cup of the ricotta and set aside.
Combine the remaining ricotta with the other filling ingredients.

To assemble the sfinci:
Slice the top off the cooled sfinci and fill with the ricotta filling.
Replace the top and smear with a little of the reserved ricotta.
Sprinkle top with pistachio nuts.
 
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SPECIAL
FEATURES
ITALIAN AMERICAN FOLKLORE
Italian-Americans compose one of the
largest ethnic groups in the United
States, numbering more than 14 million
in the 1990 census.  Based on published
research, fiction and interviews, this work
offers an diverting overview of the popular
cultural baggage--customs, beliefs and
entertainments--that Italian immigrants
brought to America (and some
embellishments they added as they
adapted to their new life).
PINE NUTS  (PIGNOLI)
The pine nut is actually the tiny, cream-
colored seed of a certain species of pine
tree. Pine nuts , sold shelled, raw or
roasted, have a rich buttery flavor and add a
nice crunch to many foods, included baked
goods, pasta, and salads.
Some simple ways to enjoy pine nuts:

1.   Add toasted pine nuts to salads
2.  Sprinkle into soups for added crunch
3.  Include in pancake and waffle batters
4.  Sprinkle on vegetable pizzas
5.  Add to pasta dishes
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