Niggilan – The party snack from Sesto
When there is something to celebrate here in Sesto, there is one thing that will definitely not be missing from the buffet: Niggilans. These are doughnuts about the size of a hand, made from yeast dough. They have a slight aniseed note and are refined with a little grappa. Flat and round, with an airy, softly browned edge and a crispy centre, they are baked in hot fat.
And already we are preparing the dough for the niggilans:
First, heat the milk and dissolve two teaspoons of sugar and the yeast in it. Put the flour in a large dough bowl and make a well in the middle, pour the milk and yeast mixture into it and let it rise for about 10 minutes. Then add all the other ingredients and it gets a bit tiring. You have to beat the dough with a wooden spoon until it blisters. This takes a little time. They say: “When the dough starts to bubble, it needs another 100 strokes”.
So when your dough starts to bubble, sprinkle it thinly with flour and let it rise in a warm place, covered with a kitchen towel, until it has about doubled in volume.
Now put the dough on a floured work surface, roll it out to about 1 cm thick and cut out circles with a water glass. Place them on a floured board and cover them again with a kitchen towel. Now the dough pieces must rise again so that they increase in volume.
In the meantime, heat the oil for frying in a large pot or a high pan with a lid. You need a temperature of about 170 degrees. When the oil is hot enough, place them in the pan or pot with the risen side down and close the lid. Now bake them until golden brown on one side. The reverse side is then baked – without the lid – until golden brown as well.
Then let them drain and cool on a paper towel and they are ready.
Here in Sesto, the niggilan are enjoyed plain with a glass of red wine. In Val Pusteria they are spread with a honey sauce and eaten with jam.
However you enjoy the niggilan – we wish you “an Guatn”!