In Puglia the ring shaped crackers are sold in a great variety of sizes and flavours. There is even a sweet version of this ancient snack made from the local abundance of olive oil, white wine and flour. Elderly people still use the saying “E finito tutto a tarallucci e vino”, when a dispute has been settled amicably. And there are special taralli to celebrate particular feasts and saints like the “Occhi di Santa Lucia”.
Taralli are eaten as a snack aperitif to prevent drinking on an empty stomach
2½ tsp dry yeast
100 ml tepid water
360 g flour
120 g durum wheat
2 tbsp fennel seeds
2 tsp salt
100 ml white wine
100 ml olive oil
Dissolve the dry yeast in water
Mix flour, durum, fennel seeds and salt.
Add yeast and water, wine and olive oil and knead well for 10 minutes (while you dream of buying a food processor, if you have not got one already)
Form a round ball with the dough and roll it in olive oil
Cover the bowl with cling film and leave the dough to raise for 1 hour
Bring a saucepan full of water to the boil
Cut the dough in 8 even sized pieces
Cut each piece in 20 bits
Roll each bit between the palms of your hands, fold it around the tip of your little finger to form a ring, and seal the ends
Drop the rings in boiling water for about one minute until they resurface
Use a skimmer to lift the boiled taralli from the saucepan to a clean tea towel.
Leave them to dry while the next batch is shaped
Place the boiled and dry taralli on a pan covered with a baking sheet
Bake for 15-20 minutes at 150 C/ 300 F until the taralli are golden and thoroughly dry.
Please note that the oven time and temperature may vary depending on the oven and the size of the taralli. 15 minutes are sufficient for the small tarallini, while bigger taralli might need more time. The burn easily so keep an eye on the proceedings.
Other breads and savoury pastries