This are also called ‘Lover’s knots’ in Italy (although ‘Cenci’ supposedly translates to rags and tatters…Not knowing any Italian, it’s difficult for me to dispute this). Quick and easy, this Tuscan dessert can be best termed a deep fried cookie (which, as you can see by the pic, I’ve liberally coated with powdered sugar, given it a ‘funnel cake’ type of look).

My bet is that this would go well with some vanilla ice cream or gelato.

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter (melted)
  • 4 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • grated rind of 1-2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons wine
  • lard or oil for deep-frying
  • confectioners (icing) sugar

Sift together flour, sugar, and salt into a bowl. Pour in the melted butter. Add eggs, lemon rind and wine, and work to a fairly stiff but very pliable dough. If it is too stiff, add a little more wine. Knead well and leave in a cool place for 1 hour wrapped in a cloth.

Roll out rather thinly, and cut into rectangles about 3 by 4 1/2 inches. Make two lengthwise cuts in each rectangle. The effect should be of 3 thin strips joined at each end – these strips can then be intertwined to look like braids. Fry the strips or braids, two three at a time, in plenty of hot lard until puffed up and golden. Drain on paper towels and when cold sprinkle with sifted confectioners’ sugar.

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