Cenci, the traditional pastries of Carnival
Cenci are one of the typical sweets of Carnival of Italy. Along with the tradition of wearing a costume and partecipate to the Carnival parades throughout the region, as the Carnevale di Viareggio, Carnival means also delicious food.
I remember that, when I was a child, my grandmother prepared Cenci and rice fritters during the entire period of Carnival. I cannot tell which one was my favourite one because I was in love with both.
When she was making Cenci, I used to help her preparing ingredients. I was having fun mixing them, feeling my hands sticked into the dough. But the thing I liked the most was use the pastry wheel to cut the dough creating different shapes to fry.
Cenci and its many names
In some parts of Tuscany they are called Cenci or Stracci, which literally mean “rags”, due to its casual shape. But they are also known as Chiacchere (literally Chit-Chats) in the northern part of the region and in Milan, or Crostoli, Frappe, Sfrappole or Bugie in other regions of Italy. Whatever you call them, you will love this crispy tasty pastry and once you start to eat them, you won’t be able to stop since you empty the tray.
Today we celebrate the Mardi Gras and the end of the Carnival preparing these stripes of delicious sweet crisp pastries, following the “easy to make” recipe that my grandmother taught to me.