Angel wings are a traditional sweet crisp pastry made out of dough that has been shaped into thin twisted ribbons, deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Traditionally present in several European cuisines, angel wings are known by many other names and have been incorporated into other regional cuisines (such as the United States) by immigrant populations. They are most commonly eaten in the period just before Lent, often during Carnival and on Fat Thursday, the last Thursday before Lent – not to be confused with “Fat Tuesday” (Mardi Gras), the day before the start of Lent (Ash Wednesday). There is a tradition in some countries for husbands to give angel wings to their wives on Friday the 13th in order to avoid bad luck.
Italian cenci or chiacchiere are eaten at Carnival time. Their various regional names include: frappe (a name shared with similar treats) in Rome; sfrappole in Emilia Romagna; bugie in Genoa; and galani or crostoli in Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, especially in the Triestino capital, Trieste. Fritte and many other regional names exist. Regional variations in the recipe include sprinkling with orange zest or using anisette wine as the alcoholic base.
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