Last week, the Preschooler informed me that on Fridays, all of our food must be fried. The apple dumpling, it seems, didn’t fall far from the frying pan. So, this past Friday (the day before the Eat Local Challenge), we made wands.
Wands are what Nonni, Dora [Barbaresi] Donroe, always calls these little strips of fried dough dusted in confectioner’s sugar. But, the word doesn’t look Italian in the least, and for the life of me, I can’t find anything to support it or my great grandmother’s pronunciation, “ee-wands.” So, who knows. The Marchigianos are crazy. I’m not sure you can believe anything they say.
You’ll need a pasta machine for these. Part of the fun is to develop your own signature shape. My great grandmother, Lydia [Belbusti] Barbaresi, used to make large circles by tracing a knife around a saucer, but her daughters started making them all sorts of crazy ways. Nonni’s version had a style all its own: a few twists, if you will. The recipe below is for her method.
These were always a personal favorite of mine. Nonni knew this. While everyone else was busy fighting over the cappellettis, and passatellis, and crescia, Nonni would pull out a HUGE Tupperware container of these things just for me. I’ve never seen Tupperware that big before or since. Now that I know how long it takes to make them, I realize that a grandmother’s love knows no bounds.
I’ve taken the liberty of cutting the recipe in half so you don’t find yourself in front of the frying pan for six hours. If you have an army to feed, or are just Italian, feel free to double it back again.
2½ cups flour
1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ cup canola oil, plus more for frying
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and baking powder. Make a well in the center, and add eggs and oil. With a fork, gently beat the eggs and oil together. Then, gradually mix in the dry ingredients, a little at a time, until too thick to stir. Knead dough slightly until it holds together. Cut into 8 pieces and cover until ready to use.
Set up pasta machine with rollers at their widest setting. Using a rolling pin, roll out one piece of dough until thin enough to fit through the pasta machine. Run it through, and then decrease the space between the rollers by one notch. If pasta gets stuck, just back it up by cranking the lever in reverse, flatten it again with the rolling pin, and try again. Continue decreasing the space between the rollers and running the dough through until you get to the thinnest setting (the thinner the dough, the more delicately crispy they become).
Cut into rectangles about 1-inch wide and 3 inches long. Cut a 2-inch slit the long way, so each rectangle looks like a pair of pants. Twist each leg, then seal at the ankles. Set on floured pan and cover with plastic wrap. Repeat for remaining pieces of dough.
In a medium frying pan, add enough oil to reach at least a depth of ½ inch. Heat until very hot. Test the oil by dropping in a wand; it should only take about 20 seconds to fry it (turning once halfway through). Remove before it starts to brown. Repeat for the others, frying several at a time. Let drain on paper towels. When cool, dust generously with confectioner’s sugar. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for several days.
Dora [Barbaresi] Donroe
Next Recipe: Chocolate Spice Cookies