Photograph by Martyn Thompson Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Theo Vamvounakis

Black Pepper Taralli

Amuse-Bouche from Issue 6 – Fall / Winter 2015 – Magic

Legend has it that if you peer through a hag stone—those stones into which the sea’s continually crashing waves have whittled a hole—you will see a fairy world. Our taralli, a traditional Southern Italian permutation of the breadstick, are designed to mimic their shape and all-seeing ways, because hey, after a few glasses of this seasonal pastis concoction, who knows what you might glimpse?

makes about 40

  • cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • a slightly rounded ¼ tsp active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • cup water
  • 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1

    Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt, pepper, and yeast until mixed. In a separate bowl, stir together the wine, water, and 3 Tbsp oil. With the processor running, pour the liquids through the feed tube and process until a smooth dough forms.

  • 2

    Divide the dough into about 20 walnut-sized balls. (Keep them covered while working.) Roll a ball into a thin 12-inch log. Cut in half and form 2 rings pinching and pressing the ends to seal. Transfer to a baking sheet and form remaining rings. Let the rings rest, covered with plastic wrap for 2 hours. (They will not rise.)

  • 3

    When rings are well rested, preheat oven to 400°F,  and bring a large pot of water to a simmer with the remaining 3 Tbsp oil. Simmer the taralli, in batches, until they pop up to the surface, then let them simmer until they puff slightly, about 1 minute longer. Using a slotted spoon, remove them to paper towels as cooked, blot dry, then transfer them back to the lined baking sheets.

  • 4

    Bake, rotating the sheets midway, until deep golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely on racks, and then keep them stored in an airtight container.