Taralli are small crumbly breadstick-like rings you will fall in love at first taste! You won’t be able to stop eating them…one after another!
Tiny savory treats from Southern Italy, notably from Puglia, deliciously fit an aperitif with friends. Do you fancy trying them? Genuine ingredients, easily available in any supermarkets. You may already have them in your pantry, so let’s get started!
These baked delicacies, which make a super tempting snack, are made of a few simple ingredients: flour, water, white wine, extra virgin olive oil. That’s all. Of course, you may encounter some super tasty variations: fennel seeds, sesame, chili pepper, oregano, dried onion flakes enrich a common dough.
The ingredients are kneaded until a smooth dough which is rolled out into ropes. The ends of the ropes are joined together to form a ring shape; they are boiled and then baked.
Why should you taste taralli?
Because they are super yummy and just as crisps, once you have opened the bag, you can’t stop eating them! In Italy, they are usually paired with red wine for a toothsome aperitif along with cream cheese or a few spicy or mushroom sauces, olives or other savory treats.
Children have them at the morning break at school, and they may provide the adult with a healthy snack in between the meals. Most of all, they are served during the meals: put them, in a nice container with bread, your guest will be really surprised.
Which is the original recipe?
You are wondering which the original recipe is, aren’t you? Not the one you are about to read! This is the most common one that everyone agrees about, as differently from the past, nowadays you may encounter plenty of variations.
A simple recipe which has an essential step: pre- cooking
The ingredients are simple and genuine, but an essential step in the method makes taralli from Puglia unique: they are boiled in plenty of salty water before being baked. Without this passage, taralli result crunchy but not fragrant.
Well, it is up to you. Give it a try: with or without boiling- you may choose which one you like the best!
Shape taralli with a sudden sharp movement
The shape make these treats definitely unique. They are bread-stick like rings, whose diameter is about 3 cm (1 inch).
After kneading and setting them aside for a little time, you have to shape small rings.
With a sharp knife cut a piece of dough as big as a macadamia walnut and roll it out onto a wooden board with a fast sudden movement, press a little bit and go on until it gets longer and longer: the dough should roll from the palm to the fingers of your hands. The ball turns into a small rope; take the ends and join them, it si a done deal. Sit conformably because you are going to repeat the operation over and over again! It is the same as a puzzle; you need to be patient!
Watch out for these…:
- Unless you boil them in salty water, taralli won’t get fragrant and crumbly;
- Wine is essential, you can’t replace it with anything else. You want high quality dry white wine. If you really can’t stand it, use water, but your taralli will lose their traditional taste;
- You have only red one? Well, instead of light golden taralli you will have pinkish ones;
- Let them sit for at least 5 hours, or overnight before baking; this will guarantee the right texture, they won’t seem stale our too crunchy;
- Make them small! Small taralli are more toothsome and tempting them bigger ones. They are even tastier! It is not a silly thing: shape does make the difference!
- Set the temperature at 170°C (338°F) if you have the fan oven, increase the temperature by 10-20°C (50°-68°F) in a static oven and carefully check for their doneness;
- If they are too hard, you may have cooked them too long, or the dough was too dry. Next time, add little more water as your flour may soak more water than that I use in my recipe;
- You may need to adjust the quantity of wine and oil in case you use whole wheat or other types of flour; they may soak liquid differently; have a few tries until you get a smooth and elastic dough;
- If you fancy a particular flavor, use dry powdered extracts, they are combined better. Tomato or olive paste fit the recipe as well. If you use a liquid ingredient, adjust the quantity of water: the dough should result smooth and even, not too soft. In case, add a handful of flour.
How to make crunchy Italian Taralli from Puglia
- 630 gr flour type 0 or 00
- 100 ml dry white wine or a mix of 50-60 ml of wine and 40-50 of water
- 75 g extra virgin olive oil
- 1 full tsp (about 10-15g) of fine salt
- 1 handful of coarse salt
- extra: about 15g of child flakes or chili powder, dried onion flakes, fennel seeds, or dried rosemary, thyme, sage, or even spices such as curry, paprika, or cumin.
- Sift the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer, or in a big bowl if you don’t use it; add salt and oil;
- Combine well until a granulated mixture; don’t worry it must fall apart. First turn to speed 1 then to speed 2 or 3;
- Add the wine and mix until well combined;
- If you want, add here the extra ingredients to your taste;
- Remove the dough from the bowl, and knead until a smooth and elastic dough;
- Wrap into cling film and set aside for about 20-30 minutes; if it’s a hot day, put it into the fridge;
- Cut walnut sized pieces of dough and roll them out into 6cm (2,5 inch) ropes (try not to heat them too much with your hands). If everything is ok, you have even smooth ropes, without any cracks;
- If they fall apart, knead the dough again with a splash of water and set aside for a little time, then starts rolling out again;
- Join the ends of the ropes to form a sort of small ring, press to seal;
- Place them onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper;
- If the weather is hot refrigerate your taralli for about 1 hour, they won’t get flat;
- In the meanwhile, take the water to a rolling boil;
- Add coarse salt;
- Cook about 10 or 12 taralli a time: plunge them into the water with a skimmer;
- Stir with wooden spoon without touching taralli, just whirl the water;
- As soon as taralli float on the surface (it takes about 1 minute), drain them with the skimmer and place onto a tray lined with a clean tea-towel: repeat until you have cooked all the rings;
- Let them rest for long time before baking taralli, at least 4 or 5 hours. The more they rest the better it is. They may also be set aside in a cool place overnight, it depends on the time you have; if you are in a hurry, bake right away;
- Transfer taralli onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper;
- Pre-heat the oven at 190°C (374°F) and place the tray onto the middle rack: bake for about 20-25 minutes (adjust the time according to your own oven) or until light golden;
- If you prefer gold brown taralli, place the try onto the upper rack and grill for a couple of minutes,
- Take out of the oven and be patient, don’t give in to temptation: let these delicacies cool down completely!
How can you store taralli?
Taralli keep fresh for a few days in a zip-lock plastic bag. Don’t freeze them, they would lose all their taste and fragrancy. And use the dough as soon as it is ready.