If you’ve never had taralli, you’re missing out. I first encountered these in Rome; though they’re actually from the Puglia region. They can be flavoured with anything from olive oil, pepper to fennel seeds and are tiny bites of crunchy deliciousness. Kind of like a tiny, crunchy bagel that’s a perfect one size bite.
They’re great snacks, perfect with aperitivo or pre-dinner drinks. There’s a satisfying crunchiness, a lingering hint of flavour and something just so moreish about them that it’s impossible to stop at just one.
In many ways, they are very similar to bagels – the dough is shaped and boiled, then baked. The difference with these is that the dough is not yeasted, so when baked they turn crunchy.
p.s. technically, these are tarallini, or little taralli.
Taralli or Tarallini
- 550 g plain flour
- 2 tbsp black peppercorns or chilli flakes crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 200 g dry white wine
- 10 g salt
- 120 g extra virgin olive oil (opt for a full-flavoured one if possible)
- Add the flour and peppercorns or chilli flakes into a large bowl.
- Add the salt to the wine (weird, I know!) and stir to dissolve.
- Pour the wine/salt mixture and olive oil over the flour. Mix to bring together the ingredients, then turn out onto a countertop and knead until the dough comes together. You can also do this in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Roughly shape the dough into a circle, then cover and allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes to make it easier to handle.
- Cut the dough into slices, then into roughly finger shaped thickness. Roll into a rope shape. Pinch one end between your thumb and forefinger, then loop around to create a small circle shape. Pinch firmly to seal. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Preheat oven to 190C.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop a dozen or so into the water and wait until they come back to the surface. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on a tray covered with a kitchen towel. Repeat with the rest.
- Place on a baking tray (they will not expand, so can be placed fairly close together), then bake in a 190C oven for 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 170C and bake for a further 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown. If the taralli are still pale, or not crunchy throughout (remove one and try when cooled) then bake for a further 10-15 minutes at 150C.