Recipe courtesy of Casey Elsass for Food Network Kitchen


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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr (includes resting time)
  • Active: 1 hr 30 min
  • Yield: 24 cartellate
In the Puglia region of Italy, no Christmas table is complete without a plate of cartellate. An easy dough of flour, wine and oil—plus a little orange zest for extra holiday spirit—gets rolled and formed into rose-like shapes. After a quick deep fry, they get dipped in sweet syrup, often a grape or fig reduction called vincotto. We’re keeping things simple with a honey-wine mixture that adds the perfect amount of rounded sweetness. The final touch, an absolute must, is a shower of nonpareil sprinkles for a festive burst of color. Buon appetito e buon Natale!



Special equipment:
a fluted pastry wheel or a pizza cutter; a deep-fry thermometer
  1. Whisk the flour, salt and orange zest in the bowl of a stand mixer (see Cook’s Note). Add the olive oil and 1/2 cup of the wine and mix with the dough hook on medium until a crumbly dough forms. One tablespoon at a time, add 4 tablespoons of cold water and knead until the mixture turns into a cohesive, barely sticky dough, 3 to 4 minutes. If needed, continue to add more water 1 tablespoon at a time to help the dough come together. Continue to knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball and wrap tightly in plastic. Set aside at room temperature until the dough is very firm, at least 30 minutes (or refrigerated, 1 to 2 hours).
  2. Set a rack on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Cover 3 pieces with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and roll the remaining piece to just slightly larger than a 9-inch square about 1/8 inch thick or less. (The dough should be easy to work with, but lightly flour the surface and pin as needed.) Use a fluted pastry wheel (or pizza cutter) to trim the edges into a perfect square, then cut six 1 1/2-inch-wide strips from the dough. Fold each strip in half lengthwise and pinch every inch to seal the seam while leaving open pockets. Roll the strip around itself, using your fingers to preserve the pockets; pinch to seal the end to the rest of the roll. Set the finished roll on the rack and continue forming the other 5 strips. Finish rolling and forming the remaining dough pieces to make 24 rolls total (see Cook’s Note).
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan fitted with a deep-fry thermometer over medium heat to 350 degrees F. Working in batches, lower in 4 rolls at a time and fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a spider strainer or slotted spoon to transfer the cartellate back to the rack to drain. Fry the remaining rolls, letting the oil come back to 350 degrees F between each batch.
  4. Add the honey and remaining 2 tablespoons wine to a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk to incorporate the wine and heat until the mixture is very runny, about 2 minutes; remove from the heat. Use tongs to dip the cartellate into the honey mixture until completely coated. Return to the rack and sprinkle with the nonpareil. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately or let the honey soak in at room temperature for up to 4 hours before serving.

Cook’s Note

When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.) For a lighter crispier cookie, substitute 00 flour for the all-purpose flour. If making the cookies by hand instead of a stand mixer, you may need a little more water to bring the dough together. The shaped cartellate can sit uncovered at room temperature for up to overnight before frying. This will yield a crispier texture and a cookie that holds its shape better.

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