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Pizzelle, Ferratelle, Nevole

from Nice Cortelli Lucrezi, "Le Ricette della Nonna" - L'Arte del Mangiar Bene in Abruzzo, Japadre Editore, L'Aquila 1974 - out of print - Translated and reproduced under authorization of the author's son, Dr. Alfonso Lucrezi - All rights reserved

PIZZELLE, NEVOLE, FERRATELLE ...but also ciarancelle, cancellette, catarrette... these are only some of the many names given to this wafer so typical of the region Abruzzo.

The name "ferratelle" comes from the heated iron ("ferro") used in their preparation. The iron was more often rectangular, with long handles to put it on the fire. The iron was often made on purpose for the family, with their coat of arms or initials. No home was without a pizzelle iron. And never a bride was without a tray of pizzelle for the wedding guests. The pizzelle, placed in baskets, were offered to relatives and neighbors when they came to bring bridal presents or to admire the dowry, and were accepted as a sign of good wish and happiness for the new young couple.

Recipe The rule is: 1 egg, 1 spoon of sugar, one of oil oil, anise flavor(or lemon) and flour as required to make a rather tender dough.

Pass three times the flour in the "setacciola" ( a sieve in) to have the lightest part of the flour.

Mix with eggs, oil and anise flavor. Work the dough long, and form rolls, of the thickness of a little finger, then shape them as a number eight and line them up in the floured "capestiere" (a wooden tray with higher borders, obtained from one piece of wood)

Prepare in the fireplace a good fire of dry firewood. Put a big piece of firewood across the fireplace irons, on which the ferratelle iron is to be placed a long time, to heat on both faces. Prepare a pork hide to pass onto the red-hot inside faces of the ferratelle iron so that the dough will not stick to them.

Now you can begin the cooking procedure. Open the already hot iron leaning one of the handles on the hearth stone, lay one dough "eight", close the iron so that the dough does not fall and put it back on the fire for the time required to recite an "Ave Maria". Then turn the iron upside down and cook on the other side. Open the iron leaning one of the handles to the floor and, if the wafer has a beautiful golden color detach it and repeat the procedure with another dough piece till there is no more dough.

This is a long, tiring work because the iron is heavy and the fire is hot and only with a long practice it is possible to guess the right cooking point of the crisp, savvy pizzella.

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