Bring some Italian glamour to pre-dinner drinks this Christmas

Resident Italian chef Ursula Ferrigno always makes Taralli for her guests at Christmas time. Taralli are crunchy little olive oil and black pepper biscuits from Puglia and are very addictive. Ursula explains“We serve them in Italy with aperitivos so they are perfect with bubbles at Christmas. In Puglia these biscuits are available everywhere, but homemade ones are unparalleled. Try adding fennel seeds as they work very well too”

Try Ursula’s recipe below for an interesting Italian twist to your entertaining this Christmas. Make sure you don’t eat them all before your guests arrive….

Taralli from Puglia


  • 150g Italian ‘00’ flour, plus extra for kneading and sprinkling
  • 40g fine semolina
  • 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper or 2 teaspoons of lightly crushed fennel seeds if using.
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 70ml dry white wine
  • 70ml extra virgin olive oil


  • Mix together the flour, semolina flour, pepper or fennel seeds, half the salt, wine and oil. Knead on a floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 2 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and leave for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • Bring 900ml of water to the boil and add the remaining salt.
  • Halve the dough and cut each half into 10 pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered. Roll 1 piece of dough into a 50 cm long rope. Cut the rope into 5 pieces, then roll each piece into 10cm rope. Connect the ends to form an overlapping ring. Continue with the remaining dough, keeping the taralli covered.
  • Preheat the oven to 180o C (350oF) Gas 5. Oil 2 baking trays.
  • Boil the rings in batches until they float, approximately 3 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to the oiled baking trays and bake until golden and crisp, approximately 30 minutes. Cool on wire racks and enjoy.

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