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Scaliddre (Pretzel-shaped fried pastry dough, Christmas fritters, without yeast, dipped in honey, Calabria)
Originated from: Calabria, Italy
Occasion: Christmas holidays
Contributed by: Mary Melfi

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Pastry dough [Makes about a dozen]

4 whole extra large eggs
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon anisette extract
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Flour as much as is needed [about 3 cups]

Vegetable oil for deep frying *
1 cup honey or more for dipping

* Prior to World War II olive oil was used for deep frying in Italy, but nowadays most North Americans of Italian origin use all-purpose vegetable oil; however, most cooks, Italian or otherwise, agree that canola oil or peanut oil is best for frying as these oils don't leave an aftertaste


Combine whole eggs and egg yolks and beat well.

Add sugar, anisette extract, vegetable oil and baking powder to the beaten eggs and mix well.

Add flour and work into a firm but malleable dough.

Shape the dough into a ball and let it rest for about half an hour at room temperature.

After the dough has rested, cut out small portions of the dough and roll out each portion into a long rope about 18 inches long and 1/2 inch wide.

Shape each rope of dough into a pretzel. This can be done by first making a half moon shape with the rope of dough and then criss-crossing it at three different places [See photo].

Deep fry each scaliddre until golden brown.

Remove and place on kitchen paper towels to absorb excess oil.


Warm up the honey on low heat and place each scaliddre in it for a few seconds.

Remove and cool.

Serve at room temperature.


The traditional way to make scaliddre is to wrap the dough around a big stick and then make its characteristic special shape (which only a few can manage!). To see how this is done visit www.occhiettineri.it/Ricette/Calabria/php The Italian language website not only gives a recipe for scaliddre [a bit different from mine], but it also provides step by step photo instructions. However, even with the detailed photo instructions to look at, getting the desired shape for the scaliddre cookie is rather difficult. So most amateur North American cooks settle for the pretzel shape -- that's quite easy to do.... After having studied a wide number of "scaliddre" recipes on the net, it seems the more traditional ones all contain anisette flavoring. However, a number of recipes available on the net add almond extract and/or rum or brandy rather than anisette. Some North Americans concerned about the high calories of fritters opt to bake these cookies. Also, those cooks who don't like honey prefer to dust these fritters with icing sugar rather than dip them in warmed-up honey. Still, because the recipe for this fritter includes very little sugar in the dough, the cookies do need honey or sugar to make them presentable as a dessert. The taste of this fritter is quite pleasant -- oddly enough it resembles Molise's "scrapelle" even though it's not a dough made with yeast (as is the scrapelle dough"). "Scaliddre" fritters go by various names including: scalille, scaliddri, scalilli and scaligge... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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