Taralli are my husband’s favorite Cora recipe. She would always have a few on hand just in case he might stop by and need a snack. The rest of us find them dry and bland. Geoff, however, can take one bite and immediately go back in time to his grandmother’s kitchen in Bridgeport, Connecticut. A simpler time when Sunday dinner would last for hours and abbondanza the family motto.
Cora’s recipe is similar to an Italian bagel in size and shape. Each Tarallo is first shaped into a ring, then quickly boiled before baking in the oven. When we visited Italy in 2015, I found packages of Taralli at the local Auto-Grille (gas and convenience store). These Taralli came in a variety of flavors (black pepper – fennel – sesame – olive oil) and were much smaller than Cora’s. In addition, the texture was more like a cracker than a bagel. I LOVED them… Geoff does not. They simply aren’t the same.
Interestingly… Cora’s southern Italian dialect made finding online recipes difficult. Her recipe card is titled, Tarella, but she pronounced them TA-dals. I love this inconsistency though. It adds a bit of authenticity to the family history, don’t you think?
The following is Cora’s recipe as she passed it down to me. I will also note the changes I’ve made to recreate the authentic crackers I found in Italy.
- 8 eggs
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3+ cups flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup white wine
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons pepper
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- Beat well the eggs, salt, pepper, and oil.
- Slowly add 3 cups of flour (or more) until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn onto a floured board and start kneading while you gradually add about another cup of flour.
- Continue to knead and add flour until dough is no longer sticky but soft and elastic.
- Let rest about 15 minutes.
- Cut enough to roll and form into rings
- Drop into boiling water for 10 minutes (about 4 at a time).
- Remove and let cool.
- Bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Beat eggs and wine until combined.
- Add salt, pepper, about half the flour, and baking powder. Continue Mixing.
- Add the oil and then the remaining flour.
- Mix until combined and dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.
- Turn onto a floured board and knead (gradually adding flour as needed) until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Let rest for 10-15 minutes.
- From the dough, cut small pieces (about the size of a golf ball) and roll out to a long pencil shape.
- Cut “pencil” in half – roll each half a little longer and thinner – then form into a ring.
- Be sure to pinch ends together so they don’t separate while baking.
- Repeat the process until all the dough is cut, rolled, and shaped into rings.
- Place on baking sheet lined with a silicone mat.
- Optional: brush an egg wash over the top of the rings for a shiny glaze.
- Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
- Lower the heat to 225 degrees and bake about 40-45 minutes longer – or until golden brown.
We enjoy eating these crackers as is, but they also pair well with Burrata or Ricotta cheese. I’ve also enjoyed them with Hummus. What Mediterranean dips might you suggest?
This post is part of BethFishReads Weekend Cooking LinkUp. For more delicious recipes, please visit her weekly blog feature.