4 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon fresh yeast
2 tablespoons pepper
1/2 cup lard, room temperature
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup Marsala wine*
A large pot of water for boiling taralli
*If Marsala wine is not available Sherry can be substituted
Mix the yeast with the warm water and allow it to froth.
Mix the flour, salt and pepper together.
Add the lard into to the flour mixture, crumbling it into small pieces.
Make a well in the flour mixture and add the proofed yeast and Marsala wine.
Work into a soft malleable dough, kneading for about 8 minutes.
Place the dough in a large clear plastic bag; tie with a twist (leaving room for the dough to rise).
Place the dough in a container. Cover.
Allow the dough to increase in volume (about 2 hours).
Remove the dough and shape into a long log.
Cut a small piece of dough and using the palms of your hands make a thin taralli-style log -- about 6 inches long and 1/4 of an inch thick.
Shape the taralli log into a half bow and pinch the ends together.
Place the taralli log on a clean cloth dusted with a little flour.
Repeat until all the dough is processed.
Cover the taralli with another clean cloth, and allow them to rest for about 1/2 hour.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to boil.
Put two or three taralli at a time in the boiling water, and remove quickly after 1 minute with a slotted spoon.
Place the boiled taralli on a large clean cloth for a few seconds, removing excess water (Do Not use paper towels as the paper will stick to the wet taralli).
Place the boiled taralli on a baking sheet either lined with parchment paper or lightly greased.
Bake in a preheated 375 F. degrees oven for about 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 F. degrees and bake until golden -- about 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove and cool.
Photo: Mary Melfi.