Last night R.'s two teenage girls and I made Pizelles. Being that they are half-Italian with an emphasis on the Italian part, I thought they made Pizelles before. Um, no, they've EATEN Pizelles before. So we each had our first experience of making them.
I found a recipe that said it had been handed down for generations, Italian generations, on the 'net. I thought this would be the best place to start, I believe it was a doubled recipe, but it was really like so many others. At the end of the recipe it says that it will be a slightly stiff dough and to add a little water for it to become a ribbon consistency when poured. Well, about 1.5 cups of water later we finally got it fluid enough to make a good Pizelle. Plus, we had to add 3 more tablespoons of Anise to capture a good flavor.
Don't these look yummy? like Chocolate? well, it's not....it's a 16 year old not paying attention because she's too busy talking to me (well, we were talking about boys) and let the the time slip by...they are actually burnt Pizelles, but they do look pretty. We think they look like leather. So I get an idea! I rush down to the basement studio and bring up a ripped soft leather jacket. The girls already think I'm crazy and they are wondering what the heck I am doing. I explain to them that if I take a piece of leather and put it in the Pizelle maker it might 'brand' it with the design. They didn't think it was a good idea. Well, in case you want to try this at home, do it outside... or, better yet, don't do it at all. It was not only a failure it STUNK! it was awful. It did dry the leather and make it much stiffer though so the wheels are turning there.
Things to know about Pizelle making:
1. They take forever because you are making a gazillion of them.
2. Make sure the maker is HOT. Mine is vintage and just has a red light indicating hot, but wait, so it gets hotter.
3. Test cooking time. My recipe said 45 seconds, it was really only 20-25.
4. You'll eat quite a few.
5. Teenagers beg for them even though I told them repeatedly that they were for their Grammie. Grammie loves them, and never gets them, and she needs nothing. They beg again a few minutes later as they are stuffing their mouths.
6. Your S.O. says that he needs 30 of them for the work party on Wednesday. Apparently he did not understand that they are for his mother. He said he'd make his own then. HA! see #1. How he will fit it into working his very physical day job then working physically at night, eating dinner and promptly falling asleep I don't know... I'm not making them for him.
7. They don't all get crisp right away, but it's faster when you pay attention to #2.
8. Because of this, and inexperience, you will worry whether or not they will dry overnight, you spread them on the table just in case, then you take them off the table because you have a new foster dog that can surf the table if he wanted to but you don't know if he's a surfer so you don't take any chances because now it's 11pm and you've been worrying about the damn things for 2 hours and you've been left alone because the other participants went home to bed and you turn the stove on low thinking that you'll put in a few at a time to dehydrate them but tell yourself it will take forever and not to jump the gun, leaving them overnight will probably work so you rearrange them on the counter 3 times to make sure they don't bend but there's not much counter space so then you slightly fan them on one another and now it's midnight and finally decide to let go of it all and see what happens.
8. Wake up in the morning and find them crisp.
You might want to go to your favorite Italian bakery and buy them. They taste the same after all.
Really, though, it was great doing it with the girls. Gave us time to talk, and I had each one at a different making/baking time. So I was able to have some one on one with them and chat about what's going on in their lives. They even tore themselves away from Facebook to do this.
They'll be surprised to find that they'll each be getting a tin of these, too, on Christmas.