When in Puglia (the heel of the Italian boot) what do you get with your aperitivo? Olives, little panzerotti and TARALLI, of course!
These small and crunchy “dough rings” are not always easy to find outside of Italy but are very easy to make at home. They make me think a bit of bagels because they are briefly boiled in water before going into the oven. The comparison stops there, actually, because taralli are not big, soft and pleasantly “chewy” like bagels but very small and crispy, and that’s because they contain a lot of extra virgin olive oil, a good amount of white wine and no water at all. They can also be made by only baking them in the oven but thanks to the preceding boiling phase they get shinier and crispier, something which enhances their look, feel and taste.
Serves: a lot!
- 500 g plain flour
- 500 gr durum wheat flour
- 250 g extra virgin olive oil
- 350 g dry white wine
- a handful of dried herbs or spices of your choice (fennel seeds, cumin, oregano, marjoram, etc.)
- 5 teaspoons salt
Prepare the dough by mixing together all the ingredients. If you notice that the dough it is not malleable enough and/or it crumbles a little (also while rolling the taralli) add a little extra white wine. We also regularly moistened our hand palms with a little water for better results. Leave the dough to rest for about 1,5 to 2 hours in a large bowl covered with plastic foil as this promotes the right elasticity.
Cut a piece of dough (keep on protecting the rest of the dough with plastic foil) and roll it like a “sausage” with a diameter of about 3 cm.
Cut small pieces of the big “sausage” and roll them with your hands into smaller “sausages” of about 8-10 cm. long (which is about the length of a teaspoon, thats’ what we used to make them all the same length). Make a ring with each little dough roll and press the two ends gently between thumb and forefinger so that the taralli get properly sealed.
Plunge the taralli in a pan of salted boiling water and let them “swim” in it until they come floating to the surface. Remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
I made a version with black pepper and did not mix the pepper in the dough but dusted the wet taralli after boiling them, just before baking.
Bake the taralli in the preheated oven at 200°C for about 25-30 minutes. When they have cooled, put them again in the oven at 80°C for about 8-10 minutes so that they get completely dry and crisp.
Store them in an airtight container. If well protected they remain crunchy for weeks.