Castagnole are delicious fritters that you can find with different names and ingredients all over Italy during Carnevale. These Castagnole are soft and fragrant, with plump raisins in the batter. They are fried until golden brown and beautifully puffed up. It's hard to stop at one!
Carnevale, Carnival, is a cheerful time of the year. Winter is giving way to spring, the air is mild and scented with the first blossoms. Kids are eager to get dressed in costumes and to throw coriandoli (confetti paper). In Venice there is the most famous masquerade, but everywhere in Italy you'll find the same joyful atmosphere with masquerades and parades.
As a kid I loved dressing up in costumes and most of all I loved the sweets that my mother would bake for us this time of the year. The Castagnole I am sharing with you today is one of her recipes, handwritten in an old excercise book.
Castagnole, Italian Carnival fritters
You can find so many different version of Castagnole with different names, from North to South Italy: hard, soft, baked, fried, with liquor, raisins, filled with custard, chocolate, or ricotta. Castagna in italian means chestnut, thus the name Castagnole because they resemble chestnuts in their shape.
The ingredients for these Castagnole, Italian Carnival fritters, are simple and only a few:
- baking powder
- lemon zest
- In a medium bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder. Grate the lemon zest in, then add the eggs and the wine. Whisk everything until smooth. Add the raisins if using and stir.
- Start a pan on the stove with the vegetable oil.
- When it has reached the temperature, with two spoons, or an ice cream scoop, spoon the dough in the oil, paying attention not to splatter. If the oil is hot, they will start swelling and turning right away. Make sure they cook evenly on both sides. Turn them, eventually. Cook them until they're golden brown.
- Drain them with a slotted spoon, add to a bowl lined with paper towel. Dust them with powder sugar, if you please, and enjoy!
My mother’s Castagnole are soft and with a lovely fragrance due to the wine and lemon zest. The raisins are a wonderful addition to the batter, making every bite a surprise. Castagnole are fried until golden brown and beautifully puffed up. Whenever we make them, they hardly hit the bowl that they’re gone, even before we get the chance to sprinkle them with powder sugar.
Although the raiisns in these Castagnole are quite pleasant, we realize that they are not everybody's favorite. Omit, if you do not like them.
Enjoy! Buon Carnevale!Print