Coccoli, as this food is called in italian, is the imperative of the verb “coccolare”, which means “to cuddle”, and it is also the name of the fried dough that Florentines used to eat as a snack during the 50’s.
After the war, a walk with friends in the center of Florence would include a stop at the “frigittoria” to buy some fried polenta, donuts, rice fritters or coccoli.
Today you can have coccoli in many Florentine restaurants and around Tuscany. They may have different names and shapes but all are served with Tuscan ham and fresh spreadable cheese called “Stracchino”. You can also try to make them at home as a very tasty Tuscan antipasto!
Here is the recipe:
Ingredients (for 25 coccoli)
250 grams of flour sifted
175 ml of water
12 g of yeast
extra virgin olive oil
seeds oil for fry
Place the flour in a bowl and add one pinch of salt. Dissolve the yeast in 75 ml of warm water, add it to the flour and knead with your fingertips. Gradually add the rest of the water and one tablespoon of olive oil. Continue to knead until the dough is soft but not sticky. Put in a bowl, and cover with a damp cloth until the dough has doubled in volume.
Heat the oil for frying. Flour your fingers and roll the dough into balls that are more or less the size of a walnut. Place in the hot oil and fry, turning them from time to time. Add salt to the surface and serve very hot with Tuscan ham and stracchino cheese.