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Friday, December 24, 2010

Farfallette Dolci, ‘Sweet Bows,’ Become One Family’s Christmas Tradition

Farfalette Dolci, or “sweet bows,” are an Easter tradition in Italy, but for the family of Here & Now producer Lynn Menegon they’ve become a Christmas tradition. Lynn’s 80 year-old, Italian-born mother Lea shows us how to make these crunchy confections, which are quickly fried in peanut oil and dusted with powdered sugar.

Farfallete Dolci (pdf)

Yield: Makes about 6-7 dozen bows


6 eggs
6 Tbs granulated sugar
3 cups flour
1 ½ tsp orange flavor
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp salt
2 Tbs butter
1 tsp almond flavor
3 cups peanut oil

Beat eggs lightly, add granulated sugar, salt, and flavoring.
Blend thoroughly.
Put flour on a board and cut in the butter; then add the egg mixture. Knead until a smooth ball is formed. If dough is too soft, gradually add a little flour to make firm, but not hard.
Set aside for 30 minutes.

Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll out on a well-floured board until wafer thin. With a pastry cutter, cut into strips, 6 inches long by 3/4 inches wide. Tie each strip into individual bows.

Heat peanut oil in a deep saucepan. Drop in bows, a few at a time and fry about 3 minutes or until light brown. Drain on an absorbent paper towel.
While bows are still warm, sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Recipe courtesy of Lea Menegon.

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  • Mara Hartmann

    What a surprise! While making my grandmother’s closely-guarded recipe for bow ties while listening to the radio on Christmas Eve, I heard this wonderful story! I was especially surprised because my grandmother told me her Croatian mother always made these (and other) Yugoslavian pastries and that it is her recipe. But none of my other Slavonian friends had ever heard of “bow ties” and they were always conspicuously absent from the pastry table at the Slavonian Lodge. Since my great-grandmother cooked many Italian dishes, I’m wondering if her daughter was mistaken and if the mystery has been solved for me.

    Regardless, my family loves these sweet treats and it is a labor of love to make them for them during the Christmas holidays. Thank you for sharing this story.

  • http://www.kingtone.com lucio menegon

    Our family is from the very northeastern corner of Italy (Friuli) and i suspect the area may share many culinary secrets with Slovenia and Croatia!

  • sarah heretz

    My fraternal great aunt Gisella, who grew up in pre-WWII Bucharest, Romania, used to make very similar pastry. She called it ‘farfale’ (I am transliterating the sound of this word). Also “farfale” came to our table as a home-made pasta, which we ate with chicken soup. That pasta had a shape of bow-tie. Thank you for sharing this story and bringing back memories of childhood.

  • http://hereandnow.org Barbara Chatafield

    I also am Croatian. My great-grandmother and grandmother both made these sweet treats. They have always remained one of my favorites. Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  • Geannine Ott

    Thank you for such a wonderful memory – of both my Slovenian & Northern Italian grandmothers – both made these and would always compare & compete for which ones we liked better – of course we loved them all!

  • Mvjenn

    I cna’t wait to try making these.  Thanks for the recipe, Marlene

  • crosti fan

    Thank you for this story, the podcast, and all the photos with the recipe.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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