Their official Italian name is chiacchiere (which in Italian literally means chit-chat), but they have a different name in every area of Italy: frappi, bugie, crostole and so on. In Tuscany, we love to call them cenci (in Italian means cloths)! It is a dessert typical of the Carnival period with very ancient origins. This recipe dates back to the Roman Empire period: these sweets were prepared for Saturnalia, a Carnival-like festivity, and they were produced in large quantities as they would last all Lent long. At the time, this dessert was called “frictilia”, it was fried in pork fat and then dunked in honey!

Today the recipe has changed and has evolved into many variants, we will show you one of the most common ones:


  • 250 gr flour
  • 1 egg
  • 25 gr butter
  • 50 gr milk
  • 20 gr sugar
  • Lemon zest
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 gr baking powder
  • 50 ml grappa
  • 1 lt peanut oil for frying
  • Icing sugar

To prepare them, these are the steps to follow: add an egg, softened butter, sugar, salt, grappa, lemon zest and baking powder to the flour. Knead the mixture while adding the milk: the dough has to be smooth and not sticky. Once kneaded, cover the dough with clingfilm and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes at least. Then roll out to a thickness of 3-4mm and create rectangles using a wheel cutter. Make two further cuts vertically in the middle of the rectangle. Heat up the oil and fry the pastry. Dry off the excess oil, dust with icing sugar or garnish as you like. Bon appetit!


— Written and translated by Margherita Paolinelli

WEBOGRAPHY (Last access on 14/02/2022) (Last access on 14/02/2022)  (Last access on 14/02/2022)

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