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.
[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!
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.
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.
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!
Buon Carnevale a tutti!
P.s. to Loreto: Wish I could share some with you, amore!!
Song of the day: "Gioia Infinita" - Negrita.Print
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!Print
[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.]