For recipe see Italy Revisited -- "FRITTERS." P.S. Spellings for this recipe vary. In Molise the fritter is known as "screppelle," and in dialect as "scr'pell'" and/or "scr'pell' natalizie" -- Christmas "screppelle"; in North America, it is sometimes spelled as "scrippelle"; other spellings include: "scrapelle," "scrapelli," "scrappelles," "scrippelles," and "screppelli." Please note that while these words generally refer to long columns of fried dough in the region of Molise, in other parts of Italy they may describe other types of dishes. In Abruzzo, the word, "scrippelle," refers to Italian-style crepes. For recipes for Abruzzi-style "SCRIPPELLE" see "X Italian Soups" and "X Italian Pasta Dishes."
Even though I was present when my mother did the dough for the "screppelle" and I tried very hard to get the proportions of the ingredients down on paper, it was not possible to do so, as she kept adding a bit more flour and water, and never being quite satisfied. My mother doesn't have a Kitchen Aid so she worked quite hard kneading the dough. Part of the process included throwing the dough up into the air and then slamming it against the big bowl in which the ingredients had been mixed. As I had never ever seen my 82 year old mother actually do this type of dough before (Hard to imagine I was never present but so it was!) I was quite shocked to see how much physical work was involved in getting this dough to work. My mother told me that this type of dough was never kneaded on a wooden board in Italy, but rather it was kneaded in a big bowl. This dough was also used to make bread and pizza. Generally, prior to World War II, most households made bread once a week or once every two weeks (depending on the size of the family). Obviously, each household varied the recipe to suit their needs and taste. Also, while in most households "screppelle" were made for both Christmas and La Festa di San Giuseppe (Feast Day of Saint Joseph) in some households "screppelle" were only made for the Feast Day of Saint Joseph. My maternal grandmother, Nonna Seppe, a devotee of Saint Joseph, offered this sweet fritter to her guests on the Saint's feast day and at no other time. This is the tradition my mother also followed. Photo: Mary Melfi.