The Puglia Christmas Kitchen | Cartellate al vincotto
Our culinary calendar is full of sweet treats that mark religious and other festivals throughout the year.
From the wonderfully named chiacchiere, thin fried pastries we eat during Carnevale season before lent (taking their name from the verb chiacchierare, to chatter, to gossip and so named because of the crunch they make) to the delicious deep fried pettole dough balls, stopping off for some Zeppole di San Giuseppe along the way.
Cartellate al vincotto are our crumbly and crunchy Christmas biscuits, topped with flaked almonds and deliciously drizzled with vincotto (though you can use honey or vincotto di fichi - caramelised fig syrup).
Cartellate take their name from the the Greek kartallos meaning basket, perhaps recognising the crib of the baby Jesus. The dough is shaped to include pockets that fill and hold the vincotto, accentuated by deep-frying to bubble and crisp them.
flour | 300g “00”
extra virgin olive oil from Puglia | 30g
white wine | 115g
vincotto | 300g
flaked almonds | qb- to taste for decoration
Make a well in the centre of the flour, adding two thirds of the oil and wine and knead. Add from the rest of the wine and oil until the dough makes sense. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and let it sit for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough and cut into strips around 35cm|50cm x 3cm.
Shape the strips into a relaxed rosebud round of about 4cm|6cm in diameter . Think cinnamon rolls with pinches to create pockets.
These can be deep fried immediately, though for maximum crunch leave overnight and fry the next morning in sunflower oil, a few at a time for 1-2 minutes until golden and crisp.
Leave to dry. Sprinkle with flaked almonds and then drown in vincotto.