Castagnole: An Italian Traditional Recipe for Carnival

Castagnole are a traditional italian dessert so delicious and easy to make. Those little sweet balls are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside.

We have put together a video and a step by step recipe to show you how are they made in Italy, with the authentic recipe that you can easily make at home to enjoy those treats whenever you want!

Italian fried pastries piled on a bowl.

What are Castagnole?

Castagnole are a typical Italian dessert that is prepared mainly to celebrate Carnival each year in this country.

Carnevale (Carnival) is such a fun time of the year here in Italy and Italians love to celebrate everything with food, so Carnival is not the exception. You will see those delicious fried treats sold at every pastry shop and nonne will prepare them at home.

Castagnole are so called because their shape reminds of a chestnut. Chestnut is translated to italian as Castagna, and castagnole is the plural form.

Texture inside a castagnole.

Castagnole Recipe (step by step)

Place the flour in a large bowl, add baking powder, sugar and mix to integrate everything.

Add eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, Mistrà liquor (see notes) and vanilla extract.

Mixing flour with ingredients.

Add salt and mix with a fork for one minute. Add butter and using your fingers start integrating the ingredients.

Knead for about 5-7 minutes, if you find it easier, transfer the dough to a floured surface. You need to achieve an elastic dough that doesn’t stick to your hands.

Kneading the dough.

Cover the dough with a kitchen towel or cling film for 20 minutes.

Divide the dough in two parts and make two long ropes about 1 ½ inch (4 cm) thick. Cut the ropes into chunks about 0,4 oz/12 gr each.

Shape each chunk into balls and place all on a plate lightly floured.

Shaping castagnole.

Fry the castagnole

Heat a good amount of oil (about 2″ / 5 cm) on a frying pan over medium heat. Working in small batches fry the castagnole until puffy, golden and crispy (see notes).

As castagnole are coming out the oil, place them on a lined paper plate to absorb the excess of oil. Then roll them in sugar to coat.

Frying castagnole.

Recipe Notes

  • When the castagnole are ready, you can eat them immediately while still warm or let them cool very well and store them in a container with a tight lid that can be left in the kitchen counter for up to 4 days.
  • Always work in batches, frying a few pieces at a time, because too many together can lower the temperature of the oil. 
  • If you don’t have or want to use Mistrà liqueur you replace it with orange liqueur or even leave it out it if want.

More Italian Desserts

Watch How To Make It

Castagnole

Castagnole are a traditional italian dessert so delicious and easy to make. Those little sweet balls are soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
PREP 30 minutes
COOK 15 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
TOTAL 1 hour 15 minutes
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 16
Author: Maricruz

Ingredients 

  • 1 ⅔ cups (250 gr) all purpose flour
  • 3 Tbsp (40 gr) butter (softened)
  • ¼ cup (50 gr) sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Mistrà liqueur (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • lemon zest
  • 2 tsp (8 gr) baking powder
  • 2 medium eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • oil for frying (peanut, sunflower seed, etc.)
  • sugar (for coating)

Instructions

  • Place the flour in a large bowl, add baking powder, sugar and mix to integrate everything.
  • Add eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, Mistrà liquor (see notes) and vanilla extract.
  • Add salt and mix with a fork for one minute. Add butter and using your fingers start integrating the ingredients.
  • Knead for about 5-7 minutes, if you find it easier, transfer the dough to a floured surface. You need to achieve an elastic dough that doesn’t stick to your hands.
  • Cover the dough with a kitchen towel or cling film for 20 minutes.
  • Divide the dough in two parts and make two long ropes about 1 ½ inch (4 cm) thick. Cut the ropes into chunks about 0,4 oz/12 gr each.
  • Shape each chunk into balls and place all on a plate lightly floured.

FRY THE CASTAGNOLE

  • Heat a good amount of oil (about 2″ / 5 cm) on a frying pan over medium heat. Working in small batches fry the castagnole until golden and crispy (see notes).
  • As castagnole are coming out the oil, place them on a lined paper plate to absorb the excess of oil. Then roll them in sugar to coat.

NOTES

  • When the castagnole are ready, you can eat them immediately while still warm or let them cool very well and store them in a container with a tight lid that can be left in the kitchen counter for up to 4 days.
  • Always work in batches, frying a few pieces at a time, because too many together can lower the temperature of the oil. 
  • If you don’t have or want to use Mistrà liqueur you replace it with orange liqueur or even leave it out it if want.
Nutrition
Calories: 196kcal
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This recipe has been shared on CookBlogShare Week 3

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