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Italian Bugie di Carnevale | "Carnival Lies"


Do you know the Italian Bugie di Carnevale (literaly Carnival Lies)?

They are a fried sweet preparation, typical of the Italian Carnival that starts from January the 7th and ends the Tuesday before the Lent in the Catholic Christian religion (in Milano the Carnival ends the Sunday because follow the Ambrosian ritual).

These delicious sweets are called in many ways: Frappe, Chiacchiere...depending from the geographic area; the name that we use in my region - Piedmont - is "Bugie".

Here in Italy the Carnival is the party of fried sweets and represent a period of debauchery and unruliness first of the rigor, composure and austerity that comes first of the Easter.

Talking about the Italian bugie di Carnevale, I'd like to share with you a little piece of my personal history, when I went to my Granma Maria and prepared this delicious sweets.

"Grandma, let's make the Bugie di Carnevale!" This was one of the mantras that I recited at Iucci's house (that's how my grandmother was nicknamed).

My grandma was native of Spilamberto - Modena - Italy and moved to my city at twenty years old.

She was a skilled seamstress who, in two wars and in a suffering Turin, had seen a lot of bad thinghs.

In her house, first I played with the buttons, then I prepared the Italian Bugie di Carnevale (in fact I asked her to do them in every season, but that's another story ...).

I helped my grandmother to knead (strictly by hand, in pure Emilian style), roll out and cut the dough. The frying was her stuff, obviously: I rejoiced in watching those golden and fragrant delights swell and become crunchy.

Then it was time to dry the Italian Bugie di Carnevale on the bread paper (because if two wars teach something it is that you recycle everything you can, even when you are lucky enough to be able to buy what you want), sprinkle them with sugar and to eat them as a afternoon snack.

Tasting the Italian Bugie di Carnevale that I did with Iucci, each time corresponded to a pleasant internal mixing of known and therefore reassuring emotions, which arose from a flavor that I will associate with her forever.

Now that my grandmother is gone, is the my partner's mother, Rosanna, that prepare the Italian Bugie di Carnevale for the whole family.

A big thanks goes to her for passing me the recipe and my warmest hug goes to my grandmother Iucci, because what I prepared together with her was "liar" only in the name. Inside there were (and there are), sincere and spontaneous love.

Here' the recipe of the Italian Bugie di Carnevale. Enjoy (and fry safe...see notes below).

Paola "Slelly" Uberti



200 grams | 7 ounces "00" Italian type flour or pastry flour

200 grams | 7 ounces of Manitoba flour (high protein durhum wheat flour right for bread and pizza)

100 grams | 3.5 ounces of softened unsalted butter

2 tablespoon of granulated sugar + a little to sprinkle the Italian Bugie di Carnevale after cooking

8 grams baking powder

1 medium egg

Some drops of natural vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

Dry white wine to taste

Peanuts oil to fry


Sift togheter the flours on the pastry board and create the classic "fountain" with a central crater.
Break the egg in the center of it and add butter, sugar, yeast, natural vanilla extract, salt and a little white wine.
Mix with a fork and start to incorporate the flour bringing it from the outside towards the center of the fountain..

Knead for a long time adding white wine if needed: is necessary obtain a soft but not sticky dough (the quantity of wine is variable since it depends on the absorption grade of the flour which changes according to the quality and brand of the same).

Form a dough-ball, seal in a plastic wrap and leave it to rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

After this time, divide the dough into small loaves.

On the lightly floured pastry board, or with the special puff-pulling machine, roll-out each dough into a very thin sheet.
Fold each sheet on itself and roll it out again.
Repeat the operation 5 times.
At the end of the process the dough must be perfectly smooth.

Cover with a clean cloth and leave to rest for another half hour.

Heat plenty of peanut oil in a high-edge iron pan or in a frying pan equipped with the basket, bringing it to 175°C (347°F).
To check if the oil is at the right temperature to fry, use a special thermometer. In the absence of this tool (which I highly recommend), fry a small amount of dough. If it drops to the bottom and then immediately rises to the surface, the oil is ready.
The temperature of the oil is fundamental. If it is too low, the Italian Bugie di Carnevale (Carnival Lies) become impregnated, resulting greasy, heavy and flubby. If, on the contrary, the temperature is too high, the sweets carbonize developing dangerous substances.

Cut the dough into the desired shape (in this case triangles), using a notched wheel.

Fry the Italian Bugie di Carnevale (Carnival Lies) until they are swollen and golden, turning them halfway through cooking and taking care to cook a few at a time to avoid lowering the oil temperature too much.

Take the fried sweets with a net ladle for fries (also called "spider"), and dry them on kitchen paper before sprinkling them with a little of granulated sugar.

The Italian Bugie di Carnevale (Carnival Lies) may be kept for a couple of days in a tightly closed metal box, placed in a dark and dry place.

Important notes

Speaking of oil, I use peanut oil because it has a very high smoke point. It is possible to use extra-virgin olive oil, but, for some types of frying, as in the case of the Italian Bugie di Carnevale (Carnival Lies), I prefer a tasteless oil.
Another recommendation: for health and hygiene reasons, never reuse the oil used for frying. I know that hight-in-quality oil is not cheap and that throwing it away seems wasteful, but you will do something good for your health.

The oil used for frying must not be disposed of by pouring it into domestic drains or by other methods which do not involve involving designated operators. It must be filtered, poured into a special container and delivered to a deputy collection center, such as that ones that here in Italy are called "ecological-islands". For any information about this, you can contact your municipality.


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