Crustoli or turdilli are delicious sweets that can be enjoyed by visiting the authentic village of Melissa, in the province of Crotone, during the Christmas season. 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 distinctive scent wafts through Melissa as housewives are intent on their preparation. A vinous, spicy scent reminds us that it is Christmas, a time of warmth and family. These delicious treats are the legacy of the peasant tradition that managed to make unique and special dishes with the products of the earth, just like crustoli.
Let's see how to prepare these delicious goodies.
1 glass Red wine
1 glass Rum or Vermouth
1 tablespoon Sugar
1.5 glasses Olive oil
750 g. Semolina flour
Cinnamon powder to taste
Powdered cloves to taste
Oil for frying
300 gr. Honey
The first step in making crustoli involves mixing together the wine, rum, cinnamon, cloves, oil and sugar. Then, we pour everything into a small saucepan and let it heat over a moderate flame to melt all the flavors of the ingredients (do not bring to a boil).
In the meantime, we pour the flour onto a pastry board, forming a classic fountain. In the center of the hole we pour the warmed mixture and start kneading until the mixture is uniform and soft.
The shape of Calabrian crustoli is reminiscent of gnocchi so we can use either a ridged board or a fork. We cut a small portion of dough and stretch it as if to form a sausage. We cut it into chunks and start to give it the classic gnocchi shape. To prevent them from sticking, we can sprinkle flour on the pastry board or tray on which we will lay the gnocchi as they form.
We then move on to frying them in a deep pan, bringing the oil to the right temperature. We plunge the gnocchi in and let them brown. To remove excess oil, let them drain on a sheet of paper towels.
The last step the cover the crusts with honey and to facilitate the operation let us heat it with a tablespoon of water and adding cinnamon and cloves. Once the honey is warmed let's pour the crusts place them on a serving plate. The extra tip: If we have cooked must at home we can add it to the honey to give the glaze a stronger aroma.
Main photo by @inpastaconceci