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Taralli, Milan-Style

Taralli alla Milanese

The first time my husband and I visited Milan, we had no idea where to eat dinner. We knew we wanted to taste northern specialties like risotto, veal chop Milanese-style, and polenta, but since we were so tired, we chose a restaurant near the train station. It was called La Porta Rossa (The Red Door). One look at the menu told me that sea¬food, southern style, was the specialty, and that the establishment was owned by Pugliese.

Puglia is the region at the heel of the Italian boot, and Esposito is a very common name there. When the cameriere saw our last name on my credit card, it was as if we were long-lost relatives of the owners. They gave us ceramic pitchers to take home and newspa¬pers about Puglia as well as a bagful of taralli, honey-and-anise-flavored cookies that look like miniature bagels. When we went back the follow¬ing evening, we were welcomed as family and given another bag of taralli; I asked how they were made and this is what I came away with.

Ingredients

MAKES 2 1/2 DOZEN

6 large eggs

2 tablespoons anise extract

1/2 cup honey

2 tablespoons anise seed

1/2 cup vegetable oil

6 cups King Arthur, unbleached all-purpose flour

Directions

In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a whisk. Slowly add the honey, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in the oil and whisk for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Then add the anise extract and anise seeds and mix well. Add the flour 1 cup at a time, and mix until a ball of dough is formed. The dough will be sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. With floured hands, pinch off pieces of dough the size of golf balls and roll them into ropes 6 inches long and the width of your middle finger. Pinch the ends of each roll together to form a ring. Place the taralli on kitchen towels as you form them.

In a large pot of boiling water, cook the taralli in batches: Drop the rings a few at a time into the water and boil for 5 minutes after they have returned to the surface. (They will look a little wrinkled at this point, but will smooth out as they bake.) Remove the taralli with a slotted spoon and place them on clean towels. Let stand for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.

Place the rings 1/2 inch apart on the baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

Comments

  1. nanci's avatar

    nanci

    I HAVE A RECIPE FROM MY GRANDMOTHER, WHO IS BARESE,HER PORTIONS OF INGREDIENTS ARE THE SAME BUT HER METHOD OF BOILING AND BAKING ARE DIFFERENT. NOR DOES SHE KNEAD THE DOUGH. SHE ALSO USES SOFT DURUM WHEAT FLOUR NOT AP.IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO COMPARE THE TWO METHODS.
  2. Carol's avatar

    Carol

    I have a recipe for taralli but everytime I have
    tried to make them the texture isn't good. They
    don't have honey but sugar,dry in covered dish
    towels for 1 hour,and bake on the oven rack. The
    recipe is from Southern Italy where my Mom was born Belmonte,Italy.

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