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Castagnole are an Italian sweet treat during the Carnival period. Carnival (or carnevale) is very popular in Italy. It lasts for two weeks and all kind of sweets are allowed during that time, especially the fried ones!

The most common sweets are Crostoli (also called Chiacchere or Frappe), and I posted the recipe on Instagram last year. Castagnole are not very well known in my region, but much more popular in my husband’s. They are balls of dough flavoured with lemon or orange, fried (obviously!) and rolled in sugar while still warm.

There are different variations to the recipe. I used ricotta instead of butter, which makes the dough even softer. I’ve added orange zest, orange juice and a shot of Cointreau (Grand Marnier or Rum will work well as a substitute).

With the quantity provided in the ingredients, I was able to make 37 individual Castagnole. You can eat them still warm or cold, they taste delicious either way!

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 15 mins Cook Time 15 mins Total Time 30 mins
Servings: 37
Best Season: Winter



  1. Place the ricotta, sugar and grated zest of one orange in a large bowl, and mix well using a fork until you get a cream. Add the juice of one orange and the Cointreau and continue to mix with the fork. Add the flour, baking powder and the egg and mix in the bowl until you obtain a dough.
  2. Transfer onto a clean, wooden board, dusted with flour, and knead for 5 minutes with your hands until you obtain a soft dough.
  3. With your hands lightly floured, take a small piece of dough and roll it in your hands until you form a ball. You can choose the size you prefer, taking into account that the smaller the balls, the quicker the frying time. Mine were the size of a walnut.
  4. Heat the oil in a large, deep frying pan. Fry a few Castagnole at a time, until they are golden brown and nicely puffed. It will take approximately 2-3 minutes for each ball, turning often to avoid to burn them.
  5. Drain on paper towels, when cool enough to touch, but still quite warm, roll in granulated sugar. Enjoy!
Keywords: Carnival, sweet, ricotta, orange
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