Monday, February 04, 2008

Bugie Bugie! a World Nutella Day entry

Winter has returned yesterday, and just in time I might add. Why you say?
Well, because I was starting to get use to the idea that spring might just be round the corner and since it is the first part of February we know that Ma nature must be a bugiardo! (That's Italian for liar!)
So Lies Lies....the translation is for these tasty little carnival treats was the choice yesterday for a fitting way to celebrate carnevale, as well as make an entry for World Nutella Day February 5th
Nutella filled Bugie
Sara of Ms Adventures in Italy, and Michelle of Bleeding Espresso, two Italian based blogs of note and always worth a read, created and hosted this event last year. (update, actually, Shelly, of At Home in Rome and on blogging hiatus, was the original co founder and Michelle is taking over her co hosting this year). We were traveling to the states this time last year and in a whirl of visiting family and offering cooking classes to keep us out of mischief, that I didn't have an opportunity to participate. This year I thought I would combine a couple of favorites, deep fried puffy pastries filled with creamy Nutella and offer them up to the selection of very tempting chocolate hazelnut recipes being compiled over at the World Nutella destination.
Nutella is close to my heart as a local Piemontese creation originating in neighboring Alba just over the road from us about an hour away and close to the heart of our wine and truffle country. Most people don't know that Ferrero Rocher, makers of the ever popular Nutella is located in Alba and not only produces this perennial favorite from Alba's bounty of hazelnuts, which lends itself to the production of truffles, (the underground growing mushroom tuber variety, not the chocolate confectionery variety), but produces a line of variety of other confectionery treats, like Pocket Coffee, Mon Cheri, Raffaello and surprisingly "Tic Tac". Fun Facts to know about Piemonte, Italy... I always like to point out the culinary treasure of our beloved Piedmont.

Anyway, I fiddled around with a variety of recipes that I found on line till I came up with something that suited me. Some recipes made what to me looked like Cenci or Chiacchiere as they called here were the fried strips of flat dough with a few bubbles and more like pasta. Here in Piedmont bugie is more like a richer version of a sopapilla that gets filled with Nutella or apricot jam. They only make their appearance during carnevale and will disappear shortly after Fat Tuesday. Speaking of fat, it seems that carneval time is also a festival of fat and frying. Every carnival pastry that I have seen made revolves around a batter or dough rich with eggs, and fried, fried, fried.
I worked for a local friends bakery a few years back during the carnival season and we made loads of Bugie and Cenci. I couldn't locate his recipe as it is on a scrap of paper somewhere in the piles of scraps of paper with recipes and ideas, waiting to be sorted, but came up with what seems to me to be very close. Most recipe I found called for a large amount, so i cut it way back to make a more reasonable amount of fried dough. The dough was tighter than it should have been, which leads me to believe that I will make the batter wetter next time and let it rest a while longer to insure larger fillable holes. The Ligurian variety calls for dry white wine, a splash of that might do the trick. If you find your batter is also too tight also, you can always slice them in half and slap on the Nutella or jam and sandwich them back together. No worries!





Bugie Piemontese style
Yields about 24 small pastries or enough for 2-4

30 g butter, soft (2 TB)
30 g sugar (2 1/2 Tb)
2 eggs room temperature.
pinch salt
250 g pastry flour or all purpose
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp orange flower essence or vanilla if you like
milk or white wine, 2 tablespoons to 1/4 c, if needed, which I think it will be
Oil for frying


Cream your butter and sugar till light.
Add the eggs, salt and mix well.
Lightly blend the flour and baking powder and don't over mix.
Add the orange flower essence, you could also use some orange or lemon peel for a bit more flavor though not traditional
and the milk or wine to make a very soft dough.
cover and let your dough rest about an hour at room temperature as long as your room isn't too warm.

Roll out in one go or 2 smaller pieces in a rectangle on a lightly floured surface, to about 1/4 inch thick
Cut into roughly 2 inch squares.
You don't want the dough too think or they won't puff as well.
Fry a few at a time in hot oil (375-400, a thermometer is very helpful), turning once.
Drain on absorbent paper.
Fill with Nutella filled pastry bag fitted with a medium sized plain tip. For Apricot jam you might need a larger tip, as the chunks of jam may clog.
If you don't have a sufficient puff, slice and spread Nutella or jam on one half and put back together.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.
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