Crustoli or turdilli are delicious sweets that can be enjoyed when visiting the authentic village of Melissa, in the province of Crotone, during the Christmas period. Tradition has it that these sweets are prepared in every Calabrian home to renew the tradition year after year, handing down the recipe from mother to daughter. A characteristic scent spreads through Melissa when the housewives are intent on their preparation. A vinous and spicy scent reminds us that it is Christmas, a time of warmth and family. These delicious sweets are the legacy of the peasant tradition that managed to make unique and special dishes with the products of the land, just like the crustoli.
Let's see how to prepare these delicious goodies.
1 glass Red wine
1 glass Rum or Vermuth
1 tablespoon Sugar
1,5 glasses Olive oil
750 gr. Semolina flour
Cinnamon powder to taste
Cloves powder to taste
300 gr. Honey
The first step in making the crustoli is to mix together the wine, rum, cinnamon, cloves, oil and sugar. Then pour everything into a small saucepan and heat over a moderate flame to melt all the flavours of the ingredients (do not bring to the boil).
In the meantime, we pour the flour onto a pastry board, forming a classic fountain. In the centre of the hole, pour the warmed mixture and start to knead until the mixture is uniform and soft.
The shape of the Calabrian crustoli is reminiscent of gnocchi, so we can use a ribbed board or a fork. Cut a small portion of dough and stretch it as if to form a small sausage. Cut the dough into small pieces and start shaping it into the classic gnocchi shape. To prevent them from sticking, we can sprinkle the pastry board or tray with flour on which we will lay the gnocchi as they form.
Then fry them in a deep pan, bringing the oil to the right temperature. Dip the gnocchi in and allow them to brown. To remove the excess oil, leave them to drain on a sheet of absorbent paper.
The last step is to cover the crusts with honey and to facilitate the operation put it to heat with a tablespoon of water and adding cinnamon and cloves. Once the honey is warmed up, pour it over the crusts and place them on a serving plate. Extra tip: if we have some cooked must at home, we can add it to the honey to give the glaze a stronger aroma.
Main photo by @inpastaconceci