Castagnole – Deep Fried Dumplings
Characterized by colors and noises, Carnival is considered the quintessential celebration of joy. Men and women, from all walks of life, go to masked balls and colorful parades, trying to free the imagination and capture a bit of happiness.
Carnival is, traditionally, the period before Lent, ending on Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.
But Carnival is, also, the best time to have fun in the kitchen, because people enjoy trying out their fantasy in the preparation of many different cakes and sweets.
Do you know which is one of the most delicious Carnival Cake Recipe in Italy?
Castagnole, of course! Find the Recipe at the bottom of the post of click here!
History of Castagnole
The Castagnole is a sweet Carnival classic fried dumpling that, along with the Galani and the Frittelle, is always present in all Italian bakeries and cakes shops, during one of the craziest and fun periods of the year.
They are ready to be enjoyed with just a few simple ingredients and in only a few minutes.
The Castagnole, whose Italian term is due to the small size and a similar shape to the fruit of the chestnut trees, are typical Carnival sweets mainly from Veneto, Emilia Romagna and Lazio, but you can also find them in some Southern regions, like Campania.
This delight, mostly fried and covered in sugar, is very old, but not ancient, according to what we historically know.
In fact, in addition to the more modern 19th century cookbooks, we know that already in the seventeenth century, the cooks of the noble families, like the D’Angiò and the Farnese, wrote about the “struffoli in the Roman way”, whose recipe corresponds perfectly to that of Castagnole.
But it is in a manuscript of the end ‘700,that we can find four different recipes bearing the name of Castagnole.
The manuscript was found by Italo Arieti, in the State Archives of the city of Viterbo.
Nowadays it is one of the simpliest Carnival cakes to be prepared. There are many different recipes. We decided to try and test the recipe by Veneto and Dintorni.
We were very pleased with the results! You can also try also a Castagnole Recipe with Alchermes posted by Judy Watts Francini of Divina Cucina for The Florentine. Judy was one of the first people in Italy to hold cooking classes. She organises custom culinary tours in Italy for lovers of food and wine!
450 g plain flour, sifted
2 eggs, beaten
100 g sugar
1 tbsp Vanilla icing sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
50 g butter, in cubes and softened
dry white wine
icing sugar to sprinkle
- Prepare the dough by mixing all dry ingredients: the flour, the sugar, the vanilla sugar, the baking powder, the salt.
- Rub the softened butter in the dry mixture until the pastry resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the beaten eggs.
- Add the white wine, enough to have obtain a malleable dough, which is not to hard but not too soft either.
- Knead well for about 10 minutes.
- Cut into small pieces and roll into sausage like shapes, the size of your middle finger.
- Cut them into small pieces, about 2 cm long.
- Form small balls and fry them in deep boiling oil. The little balls must float.
- Make sure to turn them constantly.
- When they are well swollen, remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels.
- Once they cool down, sprinkle them with icing sugar