Savory Pastry Rings

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about



Appears in

These savory pastries, a specialty of Livorno, have the texture of bread sticks but are formed into rings. They resemble the Egyptian semit or Apulian taralli. Author Carol Field, in her excellent Italy in Small Bites, has a version of this recipe using ½ cup oil and ¾ cup water. She suggests a double rising for better texture, and the use of an egg wash to promote a golden finish more quickly.


  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • cups warm water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus olive oil for brushing
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Semolina flour for dusting
  • ¼ cup aniseeds
  • 1 egg yolk lightly beaten with a little water


Combine the yeast and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add the 4 tablespoons oil, then beat in the flour and salt with the paddle attachment until the dough comes together. Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes until almost smooth.

Turn out onto a work surface dusted with semolina flour and knead until smooth and elastic, 3 to 5 minutes. Pat into a 4-by-14-inch rectangle and brush with olive oil. Cover with a tea towel and let rise until doubled, about 1½ hours.

Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Uncover the dough, dust with semolina flour, and sprinkle with the aniseeds.

Working from a long side, cut the rectangle into 4 equal pieces. Then cut each piece crosswise into 6 equal strips. You should have 24 pieces in all. Using your palms, roll and stretch each strip until it is almost 6 inches long. Form each strip into a ring and pinch the ends together. Place the rings on the prepared baking sheets. At this point, the circles can be covered again and allowed to rise for 45 minutes, or they can be baked immediately.

Brush the circles with the egg yolk-water mixture. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm.