Crostoli

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02 Apr Crostoli

Originally, today’s post was going to tell you all about the Meatballs of Shame. But that story can wait.

How can I talk about anything as plebeian as meatballs when this delicacy arrived on my doorstep in all its deep fried glory? I was so excited, I grabbed my camera and started snapping, keeping curious cats and an impatient husband at bay.

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Italian Crostoli. Lighter than air and crisper than an autumn day. Just look at those air pockets.

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Yesterday, out of the blue, Francesca dropped off a plate of homemade crostoli. She and I used to teach together, so she knew my love of good food. Then a while ago, she’d posted photographs of this decadent dessert on her blog, Cafrel Arts & Photography, and I’d left covetous comments. Francesca remembered my enthusiasm for this treat and, having just ordered a batch of from-scratch crostoli, dropped off a plate in honour of Andrew’s birthday. This act alone was enormously generous. What touched me most? I don’t think she’s ever met Andrew.

The crostini was flawless. The act of kindness unparalleled. My gratitude heartfelt. Andrew? Between mouthfuls, he expressed surprise and appreciation.

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I have never attempted crostoli. With all the rolling, cutting and frying, it’s a labour of true love. While I love Andrew dearly, I draw the line at butterscotch cream pie and spicy fried chicken.

But looking at these, I wonder…

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We’ve had enough desserts to hold us until Easter, but I’m curious, has anybody tried making crostoli? Is it as much work as people tell me or do you know a few short cuts?

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  • Gourmetdeprovincias
    Posted at 14:56h, 02 April Reply

    Here in Galicia, NW Spain, we have a quite similar dessert, prepared just during carnival week, called Orellas (ears)
    http://gourmetymerlin.blogspot.com/2009/02/concurso-de-orellas-de-santiago-y_17.html

  • FRANCESCA
    Posted at 15:34h, 02 April Reply

    Charmian,

    I’m thrilled you enjoyed them and my site metre thanks you for linking!:)

    Gourmetdeprovincias, I visted the site and yes, very similar indeed -delicioius y delicada!

  • Simona
    Posted at 15:46h, 02 April Reply

    In Italy, each region has a different name for this Carnival dessert: lattughe, cenci, chiacchiere, frappe, galani,nastri, grostoi, spelle, etc
    In any way you call them, they are delicious!
    Simona

    http://www.cellartours.com/blog

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 16:09h, 02 April Reply

    Gourmet, interesting to hear you make something like this in Spain. I know Poland has a similar dessert.

    Francesca, the crostoli are all gone. Thanks so much for sharing. It was so generous of you.

    Simona, I had no idea the different regions had different names. Thanks for the information.

    If these are as time consuming as I hear, it’s little wonder they’re made only at Carnival.

  • Elyse
    Posted at 12:37h, 04 April Reply

    Wow, those crostoli look fabulous! What a pleasant surprise to find such a fabulous treat awaiting you. Yum! Glad you were able to snap a few pictures before everyone got their hands on the crostoli. I can’t wait to hear your meatball story!!

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 00:44h, 05 April Reply

    Would Francesca like my address? Pop by anytime with some of these yummy sweets. I’ll make tea or coffee or break out a bottle of wine – your choice Fran!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 12:38h, 07 April Reply

    Elyse, if I didn’t have this blog to answer to I’d have scarfed the whole plate in seconds. But then again, if I didn’t have this blog, I wouldn’t have been given the crostoli…

    Dana, you would love Francesca. I’m sure she’d be happy with tea, coffee or wine. Perhaps you should come to town and meet at my place?

  • FRANCESCA
    Posted at 13:40h, 07 April Reply

    lol Charmian! that’s true, if you didn’t have the blog I wouln’t have thought about bringing you crostili! So as Martha would say “that’s a good thing!” lol

    and Dana, I would have loved to drop some off to you too! lol. I’d mail them, but they’d be crumbs!
    Espresso! I enjoy wine, but give me espresso!!

  • Isabel
    Posted at 07:00h, 19 April Reply

    In Portugal we call this “Coscoroes” and for our family that became a Christmas tradition. I am from the Lisbon, but I often spent my Christmas vacation at my aunt’s farm (about one hour from the city)and there was no Christmas without all of us fighting with the dough, rolling and cutting it together, and frying it as a family. Relatives would come and the men would be the ones kneading the dough. I checked out some Crostoli recipes and the only difference I found between these and Coscoroes is that we substituted the rum with equal parts of Port wine and Aguardente (moonshine) and the confectioner sugar with cinnamon sugar.
    My mother-in-law still carries the tradition here in the States. We all gather every year at Christmas to make these beauties. My daughter loves the kneading part and it is now a family tradition.
    Thank you for this post. I loved all the links to the different versions of Crostoli in Italy and Spain.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 22:39h, 19 April Reply

    Isabel, thanks so much for telling your story. I love that you are carrying on the tradition. The cinnamon sugar sounds like a lovely touch, and I can certainly see Port wine being used.

    My best friend is Polish and they have a similar biscuit that’s made only at Christmas and for weddings. I wonder where else in the world they make a form of these. They are addictive!!

  • Carmela
    Posted at 07:08h, 17 July Reply

    My mum makes these…along with several other time consuming and labour intensive goodies (pignolatta anyone? lol). Of course the speed with which they disappear defeats the effort invested to make them! I've never tried them with Port before – must tell my mum to give it a go next time. I think the traditional European sweets (yes, usually reserved for special occasions) are purposely intended to be a 'group effort'….to unite loved ones. It definately is a bonding thing between me and my wonderful mum…and sometimes my sisters and cousins pitch in so it becomes a 'party' lol

    BTW I just discovered your website and think it's great. I love hearing others' views – and comparisons – of my favourite foods :-)

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 10:31h, 17 July Reply

    Carmela, your crostoli parties sound wonderful. I love baking with my mom. I don't remember there ever being more than 2 of us in the kitchen and would love to be part of one of those big family cookathons.

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

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