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Tarallucci di Natale
Tarallucci di Natale or Tarallucci Dolce (Italian donut and/or sweet taralli, without yeast, Christmas fritters)
Originated from: Abruzzo
Occasion: Christmas holidays
Contributed by: Mary Melfi

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For recipe see "Taralli"



Technically this style of "tarallucci di Natale" is more of a fritter than a bite-sized taralli, but there are more references to them as "sweet taralli" than as fritters on the world-wide web. In fact, there are other versions of "tarallucci di Natale" that are not fried, but those, I believe, do not come from the Abruzzo region. Actually, this style of "tarallucci di Natale" looks and tastes like French-style "bigne" pastries. In fact, these "tarallucci di Natale" also are identical to what one can get at Dunkin' Donuts. Of all the fritters I've made to date, these taste the most like North American "sugar" donuts. Besides being almost identical to North American-style donuts, they are also similar to Northern Italy's famous Carnival fritters. And the best part of all this is that these "tarallucci di Natale" are very easy to do. Some carnival fritters such as "castagnole" take a lot more time and experience to do well, while this recipe requires very little time and if the dough is the right consistency, the "tarallucci" are very easy to do.... Prior to World War II most cooks probably did not add vanilla or lemon zest to the "tarallucci di Natale" as these ingredients would have been considered expensive, especially in the countryside. So if one wants to do "tarallucci di Natale" the traditional way one wouldn't add the extra flavor. However, I believe, the addition of vanilla and lemon zest, do improve this fritter by a long shot. If one is not adverse to fried foods and is willing to have some fun then one should try this out. N.B. Never place the platter on which one places kitchen paper towels to usurp the excess oil close to the heating elements as this is a recipe for disaster -- first remove the fritters and place them in a container, and then far from the heat, on the kitchen table, place the fritters on the paper kitchen towel. Play it safe, as they say.... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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