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crispelli di Natale
Crispelli di Natale (Laziali Christmas fritters, with yeast, raisins and topped with table sugar)
Originated from: Ripi, Frosinone, Lazio
Occasion: Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Contributed by: Pierina Faustini

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about 1 kilo flour (or a touch less)
1 tablespoon salt
1 bag of traditional dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup raisins
1 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar (to proof the yeast)

Hot water (as much as is needed to make a soft malleable dough)

For deep frying
Vegetable oil

For garnish
Table sugar
Cocoa (optional)


o Mix ingredients and work into a soft malleable dough (Should be soft enough so it can be stretched into columns of dough, but it shouldn't be so soft that it looks like a batter).

o Form the dough into a ball and let it rest for a few hours or until it doubles in size.

o One can either take a chunk of dough and stretch it out so that it is about six inches long, or one can take a chunk of dough and make a hole in it so that the end result looks like a donut.

o Fry the dough in hot oil until golden.

o Remove and place on kitchen paper towels to usurp excess oil.

o If the crispelli are served immediately sprinkle some table sugar on them and serve them warm; if they are to be served later, do not sprinkle the sugar. Place them in the fridge and re-heat them in a moderate oven before serving. Add the table sugar before serving when they are warm. The crispelli can also be served at room temperature. Cocoa can also be used as garnish.


Pierina notes that when her mother was growing up in Ripi in the 1930s these fritters were made for Christmas Eve, and whatever was left over (if anything was left over) was served on Christmas Day. They were not served any other time of the year. Different households in the town had various ways of presenting these fritters -- in her father's household the fritters were shaped like donuts, but in her mother's household they were presented as columns. However, everyone in her town included raisins in the yeast dough unlike in other parts of Italy, such as in Molise, where their columns of fried dough were called "screppelle".... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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