If you have ever traveled to Puglia during Christmas time you would have definitely tasted or noticed them. Cartellate are the most typical sweets of the holiday season, full of flavours and unexpected smells.
According to the tradition, Cartellate are nests of fried dough which require a long time to be cooked and served, this is why the whole process may involve more than one person in a family and its recipe has been handed down from father to son for generations. They are not prepared just for Christmas day, but for all the festive December month. While its taste may be quite simple, its preparation isn’t. In fact it requires patience and a lot of steps at different moments.
Cartellate: an ancient dish with history
The name Cartellate is deeply rooted in apulian culture and linked with the italian word that means “to wrap up” and that is what their shape resembles.
Their recipe may be even thousands of years old. In fact, in caves located in the surroundings of Bari, images have been found. They date back to the VI Century b.C. and depict Cartellate recipes. They may have Greek origins, as they were used as offerings to the Gods. Their origins may even come from the Greek word that means “basket”, again similar to their shape.
Despite their laborious preparation, Cartellate are made of very simple ingredients. They are special sweets that will take the breath away of all your guests!
Start mixing the ingredients of flour, oil and white wine until the dough will be made of an elastic consistency. Then roll it into thin sheets and cut it with a pastry cutter into small strips.
Wrap each strip in two and pinch here and there: this will allow the sauce to be kept well in each Cartellata.
Roll up each strip around itself, making a rounded shape similar to a rose. Place them on trays and let them stay this way covered all night long.
On the following day, fry them in a very hot oil. Later pour Vincotto over them, which is a dark sweet paste made of the slow cooking of non-fermented grapes of Negroamaro or Malvasia. It is very common in Southern Italy.
Finally, pour over your Cartellate rainbow sprinkles, honey and,if you want, cinnamon and small pieces of lemon peels.