ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tarallini: A Unique Italian Snack to Make for the Holidays

Updated on July 28, 2018
Carb Diva profile image

Exploring food facts, folklore, and fabulous recipes... one ingredient at a time.

December Has Hit with Full Force

We have entered into a new month, and to quote Sammy Cahn

Oh, the weather outside is frightful."

When you are Carb Diva, and you are faced with a long day of nothing to do (weeding the garden will have to wait...until Spring), well you bake, of course. And I can't think of anything better to fill a long afternoon than making a batch of tarallini.

Tara What?

If you haven’t been to southern Italy, the name “tarallini” might be new to you. Tarallini are a popular snack cracker in that part of the world, but unlike other crackers they are not rolled flat and baked. Tarallini are little rings of dough that are briefly boiled and then baked until crisp.

Boiled?

Actually boiling a cracker or “bread” is not all that uncommon. Bagels, pretzels and hard breadsticks all begin with a baptism in a simmering pot of water.

Seems a little off, doesn’t it? I mean, when we bake bread we are usually placing a wet slab of dough into a hot oven to remove the water, right? But the boiling of breads before baking creates a distinctive exterior—it sets a crust that gives these memorable breads their chewy texture.

Are You Ready for a Brief History Lesson?

If you have read my previous articles, you know that I love exploring the history of food. Today I promise to keep this lesson short and sweet.

The history of “boiled bread” goes back a few centuries—at least six (and maybe more). Maria Balinska wrote of the advent of the bagel in her book “The Bagel: The Surprising History of a Modest Bread.” Barlinska thinks the original recipe came to Poland from Germany as part of a migration during the 14th century.

German immigrants were brought to Poland to help provide people-power to stimulate the economy…and they brought with them pretzels. There is a theory that the pretzel morphed into a round roll with a hole in the middle. But Balinska has another theory:

"17th-century Poland was the breadbasket of Europe, and King Jan Sobieski was the first king not to confirm the decree of 1496 limiting the production of white bread and obwarzanek (bagellike rolls whose name derives from a word meaning "to parboil") to the Krakow bakers guild. This meant that Jews could finally bake bread within the confines of the city walls. Furthermore, when Sobieski saved Austria from the Turkish invaders, a baker made a roll in the shape of the king's stirrup and called it a beugel (the Austrian word for stirrup)."

However, I believe that the bagel has survived the centuries, not because of its heroic legend but because it lasts longer than freshly baked bread. The boiling gives the roll a crunchy, protective crust.

So Why am I Talking About Tarallini?

I could have written about pretzels or bagels, but tarallini have a special place in my heart. They remind me of my sister...and they remind me of Italy.

My sister Carol now lives back in the United States, but for 15 years she lived in Italy. On one of my visits with her, we abandoned the flurry of travel and touristy things to spend a relaxing afternoon in her apartment—sipping wine, eating cheese and prosciutto, and nibbling tarallini. Tarallini—small, unsweetened biscuit rings that are commonly made in Gambatesa, southern Italy.

Tarallini are made in an unusual way; rings of dough are boiled in water before baking. There is no yeast or leavening in the dough and they are not really crisp. In fact, they seem almost stale but the taste is amazing and I'm sure you will fall in love with them as I did.

(By the way, this recipe makes a LOT of tarallini. If you want to halve the recipe, simply break the 1 egg into a cup, beat, and divide in half. Use just one-half of the egg in this recipe and set the other half aside to use later, or discard.)

Carb Diva's Tarallini al Pepe

Ingredients

  • 8-10 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/3 cups dry white wine or vermouth
  • 1 1/3 cups olive oil
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Sift together 8 cups of flour, salt, and pepper in large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the wine, oil, and egg. Mix with your hands until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky, and a little water if it is too dry. Knead well, for 3-4 minutes, or until the dough is smooth. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  2. While the dough is resting fill a large, deep pot with water; turn on the heat and bring to a boil.
  3. To shape the tarillini, break off a small piece of dough, a ball about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. On a smooth, flat, unfloured surface, roll the dough under your palm and fingers to form a "rope" about 7 inches long. Pinch the ends together to form a ring. When all the rings are formed, drop them a few at a time into the boiling water. After about a minute they will begin to rise to the surface. Let them hover at the surface for a moment and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon or skimmer. Place the boiled tarallini on a lint-free kitchen towel and let them rest and dry out for 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Bake the tarallini on an ungreased cookie sheet for about 15 minutes or until golden brown. (They can be placed close together but not touching). Keep a close eye on them after the first 10 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

Flavor Choices

You can flavor your tarallini in many ways. The recipe I have provided is seasoned with black pepper. Other popular choices are:

  • chopped fresh rosemary
  • dried oregano
  • fennel seeds
  • sesame seeds

Or, you can leave them plain.

Ideas On How To Serve Tarallini

Of course, you can simply eat them out of the bag (if you purchased them) or warm from the baking sheet (if you made your own). But why not use this unique treat in a special way?

My favorite way of eating tarallini is with a few slices of prosciutto and some flavorful Italian cheese.

Make Them Sweet - Tarallini Dolce

tarallini dolce
tarallini dolce | Source

After your tarallini are baked and cooled, prepare a glaze

Ingredients

  • 400 grams of powdered sugar (approximately 3 1/2 cups)
  • 2 egg whites

Directions

  1. In a bowl put the egg whites, mix vigorously with a wooden spoon and add, a little at a time, the sieved sugar to obtain a smooth cream.
  2. Take the tarallini, dip them in the icing and turn them until they are well covered then remove them from the bowl and put them to dry on a wire rack until the glaze has hardened.
  3. You may decorate with sprinkles as shown in the photo above.

This is a popular Easter treat in Italy, but for the Christmas holidays, you could change the color of the sprinkles to red and green, or even edible glitter.

Or, Take a Dip

Tarallini also lend themselves to being the perfect "cracker" for a dip. Warmed marinara is wonderful; so is basil pesto. Sour cream with chives is refreshing, or try this lightened version of spinach artichoke dip.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8-ounce) block fat-free cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, sour cream, one-half of the Parmesan, and the next 6 ingredients (through spinach) in a large bowl; stir until well blended.
  3. Spoon mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and remaining Parmesan.
  5. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.

Do you think you might try to bake your own tarallini?

See results

© 2015 Linda Lum

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      16 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Kristina - This could be a fun activity to do with kids or friends. Make a party out of it. I do hope you get a chance to try these and, if you do, please let me know your thoughts.

    • Kristina Hearn profile image

      Kristina Hearn 

      16 months ago from Iowa

      I'm part Italian and love trying new recipes! We make a lot of ravioli, tortlach, and casanti. I think I'll try your recipe next. These sound delicious! Thanks for sharing it!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Flourish - It's wonderful. I hope you make it and enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      2 years ago from USA

      That spinach artichoke dip has my dad's arms all oner it. Definitely trying it! Yum.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Hi Eric - Thanks for stopping by. Yes, tarallini are the perfect snack waiting for "embellishment."

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Sounds perfect for around here. Seems like I would be putting some treats on top for eating. Cool history.

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Kristen - Thank you. I must warn you that they are very addictive. Let me know if you make the recipe--would love to get your feedback.

    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Carb Diva, this looks delicious! I never heard of it before. Thanks for sharing this hub and yummy recipe!

    • Carb Diva profile imageAUTHOR

      Linda Lum 

      2 years ago from Washington State, USA

      Bill, you made me laugh-snort (and gosh it hurts when Pepsi comes out of your nose). Sorry, the remainder of my day is already booked and unfortunately the Amazon drone doesn't cover your neighborhood.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sign me up. I'll take a dozen, please. If you could get those delivered before dinner I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you in advance of the delivery. :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)