For the dough
1/2 cup lard
4 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 tablespoons anise seeds
10 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons milk
A large pot of water for boiling taralli
For the glaze
3 large egg whites
1 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder together.
Mix the anise seeds into the flour mixture.
Cut the lard into the flour mixture.
In a separate bowl, egg yolks and milk together.
Mix dry ingredients with wet ones and work into a soft and smooth dough (If the dough is too soft and sticky, add a touch more flour; if it is too firm, add a touch more milk).
Shape the dough into a cylinder.
Cut a small slice of dough and shape into a tarallini style log -- about 3 inch inches long, 1/2 inch wide.
Shape each log into an S.
Bring a large pot of water to boil.
Place the tarallini, a few at a time, in the boiling water and remove as soon as they float to the surface -- about 30 seconds.
Place the tarallini clean cloth towels (to usurp the water).
Arrange the tarallini on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (Enhancing the shape of the "S" if needed).
Bake until golden -- about 17 to 27 minutes.
Remove the tarallini from the oven after they have been baked and immediately spread the glaze.
For the glaze
Mix the egg whites, icing sugar, and lemon juice to make a thick glaze.
Brush the glaze on the tarallini while they are still warm.
Return them to the oven to dry with the heat turned off but still warm.
Keep in the (turned off) oven until the glaze is completely dry -- anywhere from 6 to 8 hours.
Store in an appropriate container.
It seems that in some areas of Italy, including Sicily, the traditional way of doing tarallini, even those that don't include yeast, is to boil them prior to baking them. Still, nowadays, many Italians skip this step. In the old days home cooks often had to bring their tarallini to communal ovens so that is possibly why they were boiled first; now that people have ovens at home boiling tarallini doesn't seem necessary (in my opinion). It does not enhance the flavor and one can run the risk of making them wet and soggy, rather than crispy (as they should be)..... Personal comments and photo: Mary Melfi.