One Sunday morning I say to Mamma Rosa, “let’s make some crostoli”. I think she can make these in her sleep. In our particular neck of the Italian-Australian community, my mother is very well known for her biscuits and sweets – her amaretti, almond bread, and crostoli rival any pasticceria. You can see her hands kneeding the dough – hands well worn from years of loving toil spent on her family. There are lots of different versions of crostoli, and lots of stories about what part of Italy they originated from. This is the version my mother has been making for as long as I can remember. Some people also add lemon zest; different types of alcohol can be used – instead of whisky, you can use brandy, white wine, Marsala or a liquor called Millefiori; some versions use butter instead of oil. So there are a lot of possible variations. Extra hands make light work for this, the two of us had it all done in about an hour. For frying, you can use olive oil, canola oil, or rice bran oil.
1/3 cup caster sugar
½ tbsp. vanilla extract
1/3 cup whisky
40ml olive oil
2 cups plain flour, sifted
1 cup self raising flour, sifted
Oil for frying (about 750ml)
Icing sugar for dusting
1. In a bowl, add eggs, caster sugar, vanilla, whisky and oil. Beat with an electric mixture until sugar is dissolved and the mixture pales
2. Fold in flour until a dough forms. If it still seems too sticky, add a little more flour but make sure the ratio of plain to self raising is 2:1
3. Gently knead the dough until smooth. Divide dough into eight equal portions, and flour each portion lightly
4. Using a pasta roller on the widest setting, roll each portion into strips. You may need to fold and roll a couple of times until smooth
5. Set the machine to a narrower setting (on our machine we set it to number 2) and roll the sheets through
6. Using a pastry wheel, cut the dough into strips, with a small slit through the middle, then fold through the hole to form a little twist
7. Head the oil in a deep pan (a wok works well) and gently fry in batches until golden. They will fry very quickly so don’t stray from the cooktop! Place on a paper towel to cool.
8. Dust liberally with icing sugar. Store in an airtight container. You can re-dust them with icing sugar before serving.