Taralli are a southern Italian snack that is kind of a cross between a looped breadstick and a pretzel. They look like tiny bagels, but they are super crunchy like grissini. These crackers are about 2 inches in diameter (smaller than they look in the photos). I've also seen them referred to as Italian wine pretzels.
Taralli? How did I discover taralli? you ask! Well.... there was a cookbook sitting on my nightstand called Crackers & Dips: More than 50 Handmade Snacks.
I definitely have a bit of a cookbook problem. A book solely devoted to crackers and dips? How did this get in my house? Typically the culprit is some gorgeous article in Fine Cooking or Bon Appetit featuring a stack of beautiful cookbook spines. Amazon Prime strikes again.
Time to try one of the recipes.
At least I don't collect cars, right? Or shoes. Or exotic animals. I swear, you won't see me on Hoarders weaving my way through narrow aisles of cookbooks.
Tartalli come in both savory or sweet flavors. They are often served with wine, and are crispy enough to be served with cheesy dips. I made these with very coarsely ground tellicherry black peppercorns. I loved them both plain and with a gooey dip of Harvarti cheese with pepperoni.
You can substitute any number of savory flavors for the black pepper. I really like the spiciness of the bits of tellicherry.
Black Pepper Taralli
2 tsp instant yeast
3/4 C warm water (about 110 degrees F)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 C white wine
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
2 C/255 g unbleached all purpose flour
1 3/4 C/290 g semolina flour (not extra fancy durum)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground (on course) black pepper
1 egg + 1 T water, beaten
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add all of the ingredients in the order that they are listed, except the beaten egg.
- Stir with a large spoon or dough whisk until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet ingredients.
- Knead on medium speed for about 3 minutes. The dough can also be kneaded by hand for about 6 minutes.
- Allow the dough to rise, covered in an oiled bowl, until doubled. About 90 to 120 minutes.
- Divide the dough in half, covering one half with plastic wrap while you work with the other half.
- Divide the other half into 28 equal pieces and roll them into 6 inch long ropes. Coil the ropes into a circle and press the ends together. Place them one inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets.
- Cover the first sheet with plastic wrap, while preparing the second baking sheet.
- Brush the taralli lightly with the egg wash.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back halfway through.
- Cool on a wire rack, and then store in an airtight container. They will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks.
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