A typical Venetian carnival pastry, galani are made in one form or another all over Italy and known by many different names. They are easy to prepare and have a delicacy and richness that only a fried pastry possesses.
The typical fat for frying these in most parts of Italy is lard, though I use olive oil with equal success. Make sure that little or no flour clings to the galani when they go into the oil or the oil will probably break down and foam before you are finished frying.
Place the flour on a work surface or in a bowl. Make a well in the center and place the sugar, salt, butter, and eggs in the well. Gradually draw in the flour to make a soft dough.
Knead the dough briefly on a well-floured surface by folding it over on itself several times, using a spatula if the dough is sticky. Flour the dough lightly and wrap in plastic. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Flour the surface and the dough lightly and roll it out as thin as possible, dusting with flour and moving the dough often so that it does not stick to the surface or the rolling pin.
Cut the dough into 1½ × 3-inch rectangles with a pastry wheel. Slash the center of each rectangle parallel to the long ends and pass one of the short ends through it to form a knot, as in the illustration.
Heat the oil to 350 degrees and fry the galani a few at a time until they are a deep gold. Remove the galani from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain them on a cookie sheet lined with paper towels.
Cool the galani, dust with the confectioners’ sugar, and arrange on a platter.
If there are any galani left over, they will keep well unless the weather is very humid. Store them at room temperature, loosely covered with plastic wrap, and give them another coat of confectioners’ sugar before serving.
Confectioners’ sugar for finishing
© 1990 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.