Did you guess from the video we posted that the dough the nonnas were preparing would turn into these beautiful and delicate pastry that we call “frappe”? Frappe are crispy and light as air when you bite into them and honestly you could eat several because they taste sooooo good!
As with many Italian dishes, you will find that depending on the region of Italy you come from, the name of this pastry will vary as will the recipe. You can go to 10 different towns in Italy and they will all have a different name for frappe! The reason I like this particular recipe that we have grown up with is that they get the dough so thin, it is really like air when you are eating it.
Five nonnas got together to prepare several trays of these for a special occasion. You can see from the photos that each of them has their own part of the frappe that they are responsible for. For this occasion they have made 40 eggs worth! We have scaled down the recipe for you to use at home.
After the dough has rested overnight, it is weighed and rolled in a pasta machine as you would do with pasta dough. It is then cut into strips with a fancy edged pastry cutter then rolled and pinched into beautiful rosettes that almost double in size once they are given a hot oil “bath” (a very quick fry in hot oil). Just before serving, sprinkle them with a little icing sugar and voila…we have my favourite pastry!
We also discovered during the making of the frappe why nonnas don’t need fitness centres to build strong arm muscles. Try kneading 40 eggs of dough and flour at a time. We were no competition for them!
Thanks to Nonnas Paola, Francesca, Teresa, Louise, and Caterina for their hard work and showing us their tricks of the trade in preparing frappe.
A delicate rosette of pastry sprinkled with icing sugar
- 4 large eggs (remove one of the egg whites)(beat slightly with a fork)
- 1 teaspoon dark rum
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 1/3 cups of all purpose flour
- 4 teaspoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- zest of 1/4 lemon
- pinch of salt
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- Add the beaten eggs (with 1 egg white removed), rum, and vanilla together and mix well.
- Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt together and blend well to mix.
- Place the flour mixture on a clean work surface and form a well in the middle.
- Add the egg mixture to the well.
- With your hands, begin mixing the flour mixture into the egg mixture starting from inside the well and work out being careful not to break the walls of the well.
- When everything is combined, keep scraping the board and kneading so as to bring everything together into a log of dough.
- Knead the dough using your palm and rolling forward. As the log gets longer, fold it into thirds onto itself and continue kneading and repeating this process for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and uniform in consistency. It should be a stiff dough that does not spring back much when indented with your finger.
- You can cut the dough into more manageable size logs. Put each log into a food safe bag, seal and let rest for about 15 minutes.
- Then knead again for about another 5 minutes.
- Let the dough rest covered in the bags over night.
- When ready, cut the dough into small discs. We used 100gm per disc but you can use less if you would like smaller frappe. Keep the rest of the dough covered at all times.
- You are going to work the dough through a pasta maker as you would when making pasta dough. Start at the widest setting and pass the dough through each of the settings ending with the most narrow setting. This step is most important to get that thin, crispy texture.
- You will now have a long panel of dough. Lay this flat on your work surface and with a fancy edged pastry cutter, cut the panel into 3 long ribbons.
- You are going to form a rosette shape with each of the ribbons of dough by forming them into a circle and pinching the edges of the dough together as in the video and photos.
- Cover the completed rosettes with food safe plastic until ready to deep fry. If you are working alone, work in batches so that the rosettes do not dry out before frying.
For deep frying
- Place about 4 inches of vegetable oil in a pot and heat to 350F. Carefully place 1 frappe at a time into the oil. It should immediately sizzle up and almost double in size. As soon as it is lightly coloured, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and place upside down on a paper towel lined pan. Be careful not to stack too many onto each other as they will break apart.
- Once they are cooled and when you are ready to serve them, sprinkle them lightly with icing sugar and arrange on a platter.