I love these delicate fried dough ribbons that show up on the table at the end of the meal this time of year.
I have 2 problems with them though. I don’t know what to call them and once I start eating them I can’t stop.
We called them bow ties or cenci (rags) in Jersey, wandi (gloves) in Rhode Island and bugia (liar’s knot) here in San Francisco. My favorite name is chiacchiere (to chatter) for the noise they make frying in the hot oil.
Call them what you want just make them for your table. I’m making extra so I can bring a plate of bow ties along when I visit friends this holiday season.
The simple dough is made in a food processor, kneaded briefly by hand and then rolled out with a rolling pin or put through a pasta machine to achieve a thin dough. I cut the ribbons with my ravioli cutter. Tie the ribbons in a bow and fry them quickly in hot oil until they are golden. Dust the bow ties with lots of powdered sugar all over.
The nutty bow ties shatter with each bite, light as air and just sweet enough for the end of a big meal with an espresso.
Be careful eating these crispy puffs so you don’t get powdered sugar all over your holiday outfit.
Some put honey I bow ties. I don’t. I reserve the honey for Struffoli, Holiday Honey Balls. These sweet nuggets are another staple at a Neapolitan Christmas table.
Buon appetito! Buon Natale! Happy Holidays to all.
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 4 eggs, beaten
- vegetable oil for frying
- lots of powdered sugar for dusting
- Put the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to aerate the dry ingredients.
- With the machine running add the eggs
- The dough is ready when it balls around the blade.
- Turn out the dough to a lightly floured board and knead until a soft dough forms and it doesn't stick to the work surface .
- Wrap the dough in plastic film and let it sit for about 15 minutes.
- Unwrap the dough and cut the ball into thirds.
- Work with one-third at a time and keep the others wrapped in plastic.
- With a rolling pin roll out the dough to about a 1/16th inch thickness or use a pasta machine to get the right thickness. I roll it through to the thinnest setting for crispy ribbons.
- Using a fluted pasta wheel cut the dough into 1-inch strips and cut the strips into 7-inch lengths.
- Pull the strips gently until they're about 9-inches long and tie the strip into a loose bow and set aside on parchment paper or a floured kitchen towel. (You want thin strips so the bows turn out light and crackly when you bite into one. If you don't want to make bows just put a small slit in the ribbon.)
- Put a couple of inches of oil in a deep pot and heat the oil to 375 degrees.
- Drop in a few bow ties at a time, turning them so that they are golden all over.
- Put the bows on paper towel to drain.
- When ready to serve sprinkle the bow ties with lots of powdered sugar. (Don't be skimpy with the powdered sugar dusting. There's not much sugar in the dough so the dusting adds most of the sweetness to the bows.)
- This recipe will yield about 5 dozen bow ties. (Keep them in an airtight container and they will last for days. Don't dust with powdered sugar until you're ready to serve some.)