Fried pastries of this type can be found across Italy, particularly during the carnival season. Cenci mean tatters, which is what these pastries look like before you fry them. They are great warm or at room temperature, but should be eaten the same day. In Umbria, a sweetened, bright pink Alkermes liqueur is drizzled across the pastry before serving them.

Buon Appetito!
Deborah Mele 



Yield: Makes 2 Dozen
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Cenci mean tatters, which is what these pastries look like before you fry them.


  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 3 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Tablespoons Vin Santo Wine or Rum
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Oil For Deep Frying
  • Confectioners Sugar


  1. In a medium sized bowl, place the flour and slowly add the other ingredients mixing well.
  2. Form into a dough, and lightly knead for a minute or two.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for an hour.
  4. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface until very thin.
  5. You can either use a fluted pasty wheel and cut pastry into strips, or cut into thin strips about 6-8 inches long and 1/2 inch wide, and gently tie into a knot.
  6. Fry in oil heated to 375 degrees F. until golden.
  7. Place on a plate covered with paper towels, and lightly dust with confectioner's sugar.

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      1. freeze the dough uncooked and it will be fine. thaw and roll out. cook and they will be yummy.

  1. Put them in a cardboard box layered with papertowels and lined with partchment paper. Close the box up after you fill a platter. I sometimes put a towel over the box. My mother would make boxes of them …They would keep a couple of months…unless they were eaten first. lol

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