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Castagnole di Carnevale

Castagnole: a Delicious Carnival Dessert!

Castagnole are a typical Italian Carnevale treat dating back to the 17th century. They are a delicious donut-like fried dessert, particularly when abundantly sprinkled with sugar. Castagnole are similar to what Americans know as donut holes.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian


  • 250 grams Flour 250 8.8 ounces / 2 cups
  • 50 grams Potato starch 50 1 3/4 ounces
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 70 grams Sugar 70 (2 1/2 ounces / 1/3 cup)
  • Orange zest from 1 untreated orange
  • 1 Egg, large
  • 60 milliliters Milk 1/4 cup
  • 50 grams Butter, softened 1 2/5 ounces / about 1/3 cup
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
  • a pinch Salt
  • Oil for frying preferably peanut oil
  • Sugar enough to sprinkle on the castagnole


  • Sift the flour, potato starch and baking powder directly onto your work surface.
    Castagnole ingredients
  • Make a well in the flour mixture and add the remaining ingredients, except for the frying oil and sugar for sprinkling.
  • Whisk the ingredients together with a fork, and once they are fairly well incorporated, begin kneading the dough.
  • Knead the dough until it’s smooth and elastic.
  • Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • Pinch off small pieces of dough (about 10 grams / 1/3 ounce eacand roll into small balls.
    Castagnole ready to be fried
  • Each ball should be about 2 centimeters / 3/4 inch in diameter.
  • Heat the oil to 175°C before you begin frying the castagnole.
  • Make sure that the temperature doesn’t go above 175°C the whole time you are frying. Otherwise you run the risk that the castagnole will be too brown on the outside and raw on the inside.
  • Have enough oil in the frying pan so the castagnole are almost fully immersed.
  • Fry the castagnole for several minutes, until golden, turning frequently so they fry evenly.
    Frying castagnole
  • Drain the castagnole on newspaper covered with paper towels.
  • Toss in sugar and serve!