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Desserts

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Italian wedding

Desserts

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Crostoli

We enjoyed crostoli (crustoli) made by both my grandmothers, by great aunt Mary Zanotti Diani and by my Aunt Tosca Disoteo, among others. Each of their versions was slightly different since each of them had their own secrets. The reigning crostoli maker these days is Jeanne Bertolotti.

Here is a generic recipe.

Ingredients:

4-plus cups of flour
3.5 tbs. butter, softened and cut into small pieces
¼ cup sugar
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
¼ cup milk
½ tsp. salt
3 tbs. grappa (or another liquor or liqueur)
3 tbs. lemon juice (and some lemon zest if you want)
Vegetable or canola oil for frying
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting (plenty of it)

Directions:

Sift the flour and mix it in a bowl with the salt and the (regular) sugar. Knead it a bit. Add the butter and knead it a bit more. Add the egg, egg yolk, grappa and lemon juice (and zest, if using) and knead it some more, into a ball. Then let the ball of dough rest a bit; maybe an hour in the refrigerator. Cut off a manageable piece from the ball and roll the piece out on a floured surface into a roughly rectangular shape, just about as thin as you can (so that you can almost see through it). Then cut it into strips, about 1 inch by six inches. Usually this is done with a pasta cutter or other tool, so that the edges are ridged. Do this with the rest of the ball of dough.

Heat the oil in a large pan. It should be hot – about 300 degrees. (Use a thermometer.)

Place some of the strips in the oil. Bubbles should form in the “pastry”. Fry one side until golden brown and then do the other side. Remove the strips from the pan and drain on paper towels. When they are cool, dust with confectioner’s sugar.

The crostoli will keep for several days.

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Granita

Puree watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew (or a combination, if you like) in a blender, food processor, etc.

Pour into a shallow baking pan. Freeze about 1-2 hours, stirring every 20-30 minutes, or more often if it is starting to freeze solid, to make it “fluffy”. Scoop into bowls or martini glasses and serve.

If you think just the fruit will not be sweet enough (taste the fruit first) you can add some sugar. Better to melt the sugar in a bit of hot water, let it cool a bit, and stir that in when putting the melon in the baking pan.

At that stage, if you want you can add some fresh lemon or lime juice and/or a few tablespoons of liquor or liqueur.

Keep in mind that I usually make it with just the melon, and it is sweet enough for me.

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