hiacchiere originated in ancient Rome and were known as "frictilia", small pizzas which were made with wheat and honey and fried in pork fat. They were made for the carnival occasion of Liberalia (an annual feast in the Spring in honour of Liber Pater, the Roman god of fertility, agriculture, liberty, wine and pleasure).
These pastries are made all over Italy in different variations. When biting into them the first sensation is the sweetness of the powdered sugar melting on your tongue followed by the crisp flakey break of the pastry with its biscuity lemon and vanilla flavours. Young and old alike delight in eating them (my 3 year old son eagerly helped me make these). The pastry can be cut in ribbons, diagonals, knots and rectangles. They can be topped with icing sugar, honey, chocolate or sprinkled with Alchermes (an Italian liqueur). They pair well with whipped mascarpone. They have many names depending on where they are made: Toscana (cenci, zacarette, donzelline), Veneto (crostoli, galani), Piemonte (bugie), Lombardia (chiacchiere delle monache, frappe, lattughe, gale), Emilia (sfrappole) and Liguria (bugie). Whatever you call them, they are delicious. —woo wei-duan
plain flour or 00 flour
vanilla powder (can substitute 5 mls (1 teaspoon) vanilla extract but reduce the milk by 5 mls)