Crescentina fritta is a traditional fried bread of Bologna that, with different names, you can find all over the Via Emilia.
Crescentina fritta of Bologna is a typical fried bread
In Modena and Reggio Emilia it is called gnocco fritto. When in Parma calls for torta fritta.
In Romagna piadina fritta, in dialect piê fritta. Sometimes it is also called fried pizza.
In Fontanelice, a little village in the Romagna area of the Bologna’s province, since the 1950s, every year on Easter Monday, there is a festival dedicated to crescentina.
When I was a child, with my family, I never missed a single year!
If you do, don’t miss this day of celebration, and visit the village that organizes it.
It is a recipe that you can find with different names, and little variations in the ingredients, in many parts of Italy.
Every Bolognese family has its own recipe.
I know for sure that some use baking powder for cakes and others add sugar.
Sometimes the resting time changes.
This is the recipe from my home, tested by many family lunches and merende.
How to eat crescentina fritta
Hot. That is the first and only tip.
Once, there were people who dunked it in their morning caffelatte (milk and coffe).
You can serve them as an appetizer or aperitif, in both cases with cheeses and cold cuts.
Or as (fried) bread to accompany a main course Bolognese style: cold cuts, cheeses, and pickles. In Romagna, among the cheeses for crescentina and piadina, squacquerone (it is like stracchino) is never missing.
But crescentina also goes well with other fried foods.
Unforgettable lunches based on crescentine, veal, or pork cutlets, mortadella, and aubergine cutlets and chips. All fried, of course. And think that as well as surviving, I even have a good memory.
Fried crescentine and summer are, for me, closely linked.
Maybe because in my house we used to fry mainly in summer and for carnival.
With a few exceptions for fried potatoes and little else during the year.
I remember some very long tables with all the family or friends of my parents.
And then those with my friends as a girl.
How much joyful confusion reigned at those tables and how many baskets of crescentine and piadine the azdore, who were busy frying, had to make.
Crescentine also make me think of Sunday afternoon merenda in winter.
I remember that I used to go with my parents in Faenza, a village close to Imola.
There was, just behind the small hospital, a zoo with lots of wild animals (incredible but true: it was the Seventies, and there was not only a zoo. But a zoo next to a hospital). Anyway, there was a kiosk nearby. One of those that, fortunately, can still be found in Romagna.
In the kiosks, or baracchine in Italian, positioned along the road or in strategic places, you can buy, yesterday as today, crescioni, piadina, and crescentine empty or filled.
During those Sunday trips, at the kiosk in Faenza, it is like a stall, we used to buy peanuts for the monkeys and a bag of dry bread for the geese. We would warm ourselves with a round fried crescentina: hot and fragrant. It ended too soon.
And the same is still true today. End too soon and are never enough.
Buona cucina, Monica
Crescentine and ficattola
Cousins without being the same. They are both fried bread recipes, but while the crescentina is empty inside, the ficattola is full and much more like bread.
For the ficattola you can find the recipe with a bunch of memories of my dad, here.
Recipes that go well with crescentina
The piadina romagnola, here find the recipe.
But how, you will say, more bread? Yes, usually there were baskets of piadina and crescentine.
Friggione calls for crescentina (ok, even for piadina!).
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Crescentina fritta of Bologna (Fried bread)
for about 40-50 little pieces
List of Ingredients
00 flour, 500g
milk, 100 g
cold sparkling water, 200 g
10 g fine salt
baking powder for pizzas, 8g
lard, 50 g
or olive oil: 30g
In a bowl, mix flour and yeast.
Make a small hole in the center. And put lard, or olive oil, milk, and sparkling water into it.
On the edges of the hole, place the salt and then mix everything.
At first, with a spoon, then continue working on a clean surface, kneading for a few minutes. Just enough time to make the dough well blended and soft.
Put the dough in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for an hour.
It is more rest than a rise. So don’t expect the dough to double in size or to become too big. Crescentine rise during frying.
Put the dough on a clean surface and cut it into 4 parts.
Roll out the dough thinly with a rolling pin, one piece at a time. The height is about 2 mm.
With a knife or a pastry cutter, give the crescentina the shape you prefer: rectangles, triangles, rhombuses, or lozenges. If you want, you can also make them round.
While you roll out the first piece of dough, bring the oil to temperature and start frying.
As soon as the crescentine swell and form bubbles and take color, they are ready.
With the help of a spider, collect the crescentine and place them in a bowl covered with a cloth to keep them warm.
While the first crescentine are frying, roll out the second piece of dough. And continue in this way, rolling out the dough and frying, until the last piece of dough.