These could be considered the Italian equivalent to pretzels, they are that famous! They are typical of Apulia, a region in the South of Italy, but you can also find them in the surrounding areas. Well, nowadays you can easily find them everywhere in Italy and I often find them here too! Anyhow… on my quest to replicate all the Italian flavours I grew up enjoying, I thought of trying these out too, just in case the shops stop stocking them for no apparent reason (and believe me, things like that happen all the time around here). Taralli come in different flavours but the most common ones would be “pepper” and “fennel seeds” (even though “chillies” are quite popular too). My favourite ones are the fennel seeds taralli… so I decided to try these out. I have to say they tasted really good. The only thing is that shaping them was a bit tricky given that fennel seeds are thick and they were tearing the dough in some points, but you would not have that problem with other flavours. Be creative, you can use so many herbs and spices! The possibilities are endless! They are really good with a glass of cold white wine or a cocktail (like my Mojito) as an aperitivo, perfect for a dinner party. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Giallo Zafferano
Ingredients (makes 100 small taralli):
500 gms flour
125 gms extra virgin olive oil
10 gms salt
200 ml white wine
½ tbsp fennel seeds (or pepper, chilli powder or whatever herb or spice you fancy)
Put the flour, extra virgin olive oil, salt, white wine and fennel seeds in a mixer with a dough hook and knead for 10 minutes until you get a smooth and pliable dough.
Put it in a bowl and cover it with kitchen paper. Let it rest for 30 minutes.
Then divide the dough in small pieces and roll them into ropes about 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick. Cut these ropes into segments approximately 8 cm long.
Join the ends of the segments by forming a drop like shape and press lightly with your finger.
Put all the taralli on a clean tea towel.
In the meantime, put some water in a pot and bring it to a boil. When it boils, drop the taralli into it a dozen at a time. Remove them with a slotted spoon as soon as they come up and start floating.
Put them on a clean tea towel to dry for a minute or two.
Then transfer them on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper.
Bake in a preheated oven at 220°C (200°C for a fan forced oven) for about 30 minutes or until golden brown. When ready, remove from the oven and let them cool down completely before serving them along with a glass of cold white wine or a cocktail (like my Mojito).
They are best eaten the same day, but you can keep the leftovers in a cookie jar/tin for a couple of days, if they last that long.