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Cenci Italian carnival fritters
Cenci (Italian Fried Twists using pastry flour, sugar, eggs and brandy)
Originated from: Italy
Occasion: Carnival and other festivities
Contributed by: Adapted from "Italian Cookbook" by The Culinary Arts Institute (1977)

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2 cups pastry and cake flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup butter, room temperature
1 tablespoon brandy

vegetable oil for deep frying

For decoration
about 1/4 cup icing sugar


Beat eggs.

Add brandy to the eggs. Mix well.

In a separate bowl cut butter into flour with a pastry blender.

Stir in sugar.

Mix egg mixture with flour mixture, stirring until all the flour is moistened.

On a lightly floured wooden board, knead dough until smooth -- about 5 minutes.

For the dough into a ball.

Cover the dough and let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Roll out the dough and then using a knife or pastry cutter cut out strips -- about 8 inches long and 3/4 inch thick.

Leave in strips or tie in knots. If desired, dough may also be cut in 2-inch-long diamonds.

Heat up oil.

Fry a few cenci at a time until golden.

Using a slotted spoon lift out of oil and drain on kitchen paper towels.


Before serving dust with icing sugar.


The recipe in this entry was adapted from the one in "Italian Cookbook" by The Culinary Arts Institute (Chicago: Consolidated Book Publishers, 1977). The book can be borrowed for free at the on-line public library, www.openlibrary.org. P.S. I tried this recipe and it's very good. Marsala can be substituted for Brandy if one feels so inclined. I would add a touch of lemon zest to the dough. And I wouldn't make them into bows but into decorative strips with slits in them, as this makes the frying more even. Sometimes when dough is folded or braided, the cooking ends up being uneven. Personal comments and photo: Mary Melfi.

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