Castagnole (Italian Carnival Fritters)

Nicoletta February 9, 2018

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Castagnole (Italian Carnival Fritters) are sweet dough balls which are deep-fried and covered, when still warm, with sugar. It is possible to find them also stuffed with cream, chocolate, ricotta. Here, I filled them with the delectable Duo Penotti Hazelnut & Vanilla spread. One bite of luxuriousness!

Song of the day: “Gioia Infinita” – Negrita.

Castagnole (Italian Carnival Fritters)-feature

[This post is sponsored by Penotti Canada. We received compensation in money and product in exchange for a series of original recipes. As always, all opinions are our own.]

In Italy, this time of the year is known as Carnevale, which can be translated as Carnival, or Mardi Gras. It is celebrated forty days before Easter and its festivals, parades, masquerades, and indulgent eating, end on Ash Wednesday when Lent begins.



The three main days where masquerade balls and parades occur are: “Giovedì Grasso” (Fat Thursday), “Sabato Grasso” (Fat Saturday), and “Martedì Grasso” (Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras), which will be the last day of Carnevale. Kids go to school wearing costumes, they gather in parks and squares showing off their masks, and throwing confetti at each other. Grown-ups go to masquerade parties as well, I remember a few where I went, many years ago, organized by friends, in one I was a good witch, in the other I was Minnie Mouse.

Everywhere, this explosion of colors in confetti, streamers, masks, and costumes, acts as a counterpoint of a dull and grey season. Also, the food, especially the sweets, reflects this time of excesses, joy, and extravagance. The most famous sweet treats are deep-fried dough balls and deep-fried thinly rolled strips of dough for which every Region has its own unique twist and a different name. In Rome, as in some other parts of Italy, these round dough balls are called Castagnole and they are ubiquitous in every bakery, pastry shop, café, grocery store, and house.

Castagnole are dough balls which are deep-fried and covered, when still warm, with sugar. It is possible to find them also stuffed with cream, chocolate, ricotta, and they are all delicious!

Castagnole (Italian Carnival Fritters)-prep

I am sharing with you one of my mother’s recipes for Castagnole. She has so many, in drawers on random pieces of paper, on handwritten notebooks, in vintage cookbooks, all collected during the years. I chose the one I remembered, that makes delicious Castagnole, soft inside and crunchy on the outside. Classic recipes like this, are handed down from generation to generation, and that is important so customs and traditions can live on. And you all know how much I cherish that! Easy and pretty fast to make, in my adaptation of my mom’s recipe I filled them with the delightful Duo Penotti Hazelnut & Vanilla spread:“a doublelicious chocolate hazelnut spread combined with a fresh vanilla spread”. Talk about making a gluttonous Carnival treat even more luxurious.

Castagnole (Italian Carnival Fritters)-stuffing

The dough comes together quickly and it is smooth, fragrant, and soft. To make the Castagnole you have two options: create thick ropes of dough, cut pieces like if you were making gnocchi, then rolling the pieces between your hands. Or, since the dough might be a little sticky, simply pluck pieces of dough the size of a chestnut, and roll them between your hands. Then to fill them, make an indentation in the ball, put the Duo Penotti Hazelnut & Vanilla spread in the “well”, and carefully close the sides re-rolling the ball, so to keep the spread well tucked in the middle.

You could fry them in peanut oil or extra virgin olive oil. According to my mother (and with Loreto now we always follow her suggestion on that), these oils are the best options when deep-frying since they both are more stable (read: less toxic) when reaching hot temperatures.

Castagnole (Italian Carnival Fritters)-frying

I kept some Castagnole simple, without the spread, while the majority I filled with the Duo Penotti Hazelnut & Vanilla spread, just to keep the curiosity alive. Since you can hardly tell which ones are filled and which ones aren’t, it became kind of a treasure hunt, and with my family, there was this game of who found more stuffed Castagnole. You could see the contentment in our eyes when, after the first bite, the spread oozed from the middle. The delicious chocolate hazelnut and vanilla flavor of the spread matched beautifully with the crunchy exterior and the soft interior flavored nicelywith the lovely lemon and liqueur hint of the Castagnole. Pure delight, and so much fun to pop one after the other in your mouth, lol!

Castagnole (Italian Carnival Fritters)-topview

Castagnole (Italian Carnival Fritters)-pinterest

Buon Carnevale a tutti!

P.s. to Loreto: Wish I could share some with you, amore!!

Song of the day: “Gioia Infinita” – Negrita.

Castagnole di Ricotta (Roman Carnival Fritters)-feature

Castagnole (Italian Carnival Fritters)

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 45-50 fritters 1x
  • Category: Sweets
  • Method: Deep frying
  • Cuisine: Italian


Castagnole (Italian Carnival Fritters) are sweet dough balls which are deep-fried and covered, when still warm, with sugar. It is possible to find them also stuffed with cream, chocolate, ricotta. Here, I filled them with the delectable Duo Penotti Hazelnut & Vanilla spread. One bite of luxuriousness!


  • 400 g flour type 0 (or all-purpose)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 organic lemon, the zest
  • 4 eggs, organic, free-range, lightly beaten
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 100 g butter, melted
  • 1 Tbsp liqueur (rum, or anise, I used Grappa)
  • Duo Penotti Hazelnut & Vanilla spread, for filling
  • peanut oil or e.v.o. oil for deep frying
  • granulated sugar and icing sugar for topping


  1. In a large bowl add the flour and salt. Make a well in the middle, and add the cooled melted butter, the lightly beaten eggs, the sugar, the liqueur, the lemon zest.
  2. Mix first with a wooden spoon then with your hands until you get a soft and smooth dough.
  3. You can cut pieces of dough and form a thick rope. It will be sticky but don’t add flour because it will toughen the dough. Cut the rope in pieces as if you were making gnocchi and roll between your hands to form dough balls. If it is too sticky, just get little pieces of dough the size of a chestnut and roll them between your hands. Set aside on a wood board or a platter.
  4. With your finger, make an indentation and add about 1/2 a tsp of Duo Penotti Hazelnut & Vanilla spread. Close the sides and re-roll gently into a ball, making sure to keep the chocolate in the middle.
  5. In the meantime, start heating the oil (I used a deep pot), making sure the temperature is right (place a little piece of dough in the oil, it’s ready when you see it bubbles). Once the oil is at temperature, fry a few castagnole at a time, turning them often with a fork, till they are golden brown all around, and nicely puffed.
  6. Drain on a paper towel, roll -when still warm- in granulated sugar and sprinkle with icing sugar.


As all deep fried foods, they are best eaten fresh. The next day they are still good but they lose their soft crunch. You can half the recipe, it works just as well.

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Post e Ricetta in Italiano

Ci siamo, è Carnevale, quel coloratissimo periodo di 40 giorni che precede Pasqua e che terminerà Martedì prossimo, con Martedì Grasso. Meno male che  c’è il Carnevale con i suoi coriandoli, stelle filanti, maschere e carri a ravvivare una stagione grigia e cupa.

Io mi ritrovo a casa dei miei genitori, a tirare fuori una delle ricetta della mamma delle Castagnole, a Roma le chiamiamo così. Ne ha talmente tante, collezionate durante tutta una vita, su foglietti sparsi nei cassetti, su quadernetti scritti a mano, su vecchi ricettari e libri di cucina. Io ho scelto quella che più mi ricordavo, che fa delle Castagnole soffici dentro e croccanti fuori. Facili e veloci da fare, stavolta ne ho riempite una buona parte con una cioccolata spalmabile bicolore della Penotti (variegato nocciola e vaniglia) che era una goduria. Fatto l’impasto, per fare le palline, potete fare come se faceste gli gnocchi e arrotolarli poi a forma di castagnola, oppure prelevare semplicemente dei pezzetti di impasto, e arrotolarli a palline. Per riempirle di cioccolata, premete nel centro della pallina con il dito e nel mezzo mettete un mezzo cucchiaino di cioccolata spalmabile. Richiudete bene i lati, riarrotolate la pallina cercando di nascondere la cioccolata nel centro così non fuoriesce quando le friggete. Per friggere, la mamma consiglia (e io seguo da sempre questo suo consiglio) o olio di arachide o olio e.v.o.. Sono i più stabili alle alte temperature.

Siccome c’erano un po’ di castagnole senza ripieno, e dal momento che non è così facile distinguere quelle ripiene da quelle non, ne è venuta fuori una specie di caccia la tesoro, che ha visto la mia famiglia impegnata a vedere chi trovasse più castagnole ripiene. Dovevate vedere la faccia compiaciuta che avevamo, nel momento in cui dando un morso, la cioccolata spalmabile fuorisciva dalla castagnola. Piacere puro!

Buon Carnevale a tutti!

Castagnole di Ricotta (Roman Carnival Fritters)-feature


  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 15 minuti
  • Cook Time: 10 minuti
  • Total Time: 25 minuti
  • Yield: 45-50 castagnole 1x
  • Category: Dolci
  • Cuisine: Italiana


  • 400 g farina 0
  • pizzico di sale
  • 1 limone biologico, solo la scorza
  • 4 uova da allevamento a terra, leggermente sbattute
  • 50 g zucchero semolato
  • 100 g burro, fuso e fatto raffreddare
  • 1 cucchiaio di liquore (Rum, o Anice, io ho usato Grappa)
  • cioccolata spalmabile (Duo Penotti Hazelnut & Vanilla spread), per il ripieno
  • olio di arachide o olio e.v.o. per friggere
  • zucchero semolato e zucchero a velo


  1. In una ciotola piuttosto grande aggiungere la farina e il sale. Fare un pozzetto nel mezzo e aggiungere il burro fuso raffreddato, le uova leggermente sbattute, lo zucchero, il liquore, la scorza di limone. Mescolare prima con un cucchiaio di legno e poi con le mani fino ad ottenere una pasta morbida e liscia.
  2. Tagliare dei pezzi di pasta e formare un cordoncino spesso. Sarà un po’ appiccicoso, ma non aggiungere la farina perché indurisce l’impasto. Tagliare il cordoncino a pezzi come se stessimo facendo degli gnocchi e arrotolarli tra le mani per formare delle palline di impasto. Se è troppo appiccicoso, basta prendere piccoli pezzetti di impasto delle dimensioni di una castagna e arrotolarli tra le mani. Metterli da parte su una tavola di legno o un piatto.
  3. Con il dito, fare una pressione al centro della pallina e aggiungere circa 1/2 cucchiaino di Duo Penotti cioccolata spalmabile alla nocciola e vaniglia. Chiudere bene i lati e riarrotolare la castagnola, assicurandosi di contenere il cioccolato nel mezzo così che non fuorisca durante la cottura.
  4. Nel frattempo, iniziare a scaldare l’olio in una pentola dai bordi alti, assicurandosi che la temperatura sia corretta (mettere un po’ di impasto nell’olio, è pronto quando si vede che inizia a friggere). Una volta che l’olio è a temperatura, friggere qualche castagnole alla volta, girandole spesso con una forchetta, finché sono ben dorate tutt’intorno.
  5. Scolare le castagnole su un tovagliolo di carta, passarle -quando sono ancora calde- nello zucchero semolato e cospargerle di zucchero a velo.


Come tutti i fritti, secondo me le Castagnole sono ottime appena fatte e al massimo il giorno dopo. Poi perdono la loro croccante sofficità.

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[This post is sponsored by Penotti Canada.  We have been compensated in money and product in exchange for a series of original recipes. As always, all opinions are our own. We only work with brands we use and love and therefore can recommend. Thank you for supporting the brands that support SugarLoveSpices.]

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  • Avatar
    Reply crumbtopbaking February 9, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Oh my goodness! These look so decadent and delicious! Perfect little bite sized treats! And I need that hazelnut vanilla spread in my life! Happy weekend Nicoletta!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 9, 2018 at 11:22 pm

      All Carnival treats are decadent and indulgent (mostly deep-fried 😉 ) . And that spread is unbelievably scrumptious!! Thank you so much!

  • Avatar
    Reply Milena Perrine February 9, 2018 at 3:10 pm

    These are decadent fritters, I pinned them to make this weekend. My little boy will be all too happy to learn that he gets to wear a costume and eat chocolate filled castagnole! Wish I could be there to see the festivities you describe. Italians sure know how to enjoy life, don’t they? So happy for you that you get to spend time in Rome during such a festive time of the year.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 9, 2018 at 11:24 pm

      Today is Fat Saturday, I’ll see if I can take some pics of what’s going on in the city… 🙂 . So happy that your boy will celebrate Carnevale with a costume and eating Castagnole. Like a real Italian! <3 Thank you so much, Milena!

  • Avatar
    Reply Analida Braeger February 9, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    These look absolutely scrumptious. I will need to try them soon. I love your write up, and your explanation of how Carnival is celebrated in Italy. Great job.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 9, 2018 at 11:25 pm

      Thank you very much, Analida! Hope you try them and enjoy them as much as we did! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Reply Vanessa | Zest & Simmer February 9, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    These look extremely delicious! I could probably eat them all by myself! It was interesting to learn about Carnevale as well. It sounds absolutely amazing.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 9, 2018 at 11:26 pm

      Yes, that’s the problem, you pop one after the other in your mouth without thinking…! 😉 .Thank you!!

  • Avatar
    Reply Lily {Gastro Senses} February 9, 2018 at 8:16 pm

    Fried dough is heaven, so these fritters must be beyond addictive! And you totally got at hazelnut spread! Yum!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta February 9, 2018 at 11:27 pm

      I have to agree, I love fried dough (or fried anything, for that matter 😉 ). And that spread…so delicious!! Thank you!!

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