Carnevale, like Mardi gras in other parts of the world, is celebrated in Italy forty days before Easter, as a final party before Ash Wednesday and the restrictions of Lent. Carnevale is one of Italy’s biggest festivals and events and often lasts for two to three weeks before the actual carnival day. Many Italian towns celebrate Carnevale the weekend before the actual carnival date, which is on Shrove Tuesday.
To celebrate Carnivale before the restrictions of Lent, the celebratory foods are very rich and feature fried sweets, gnocchi, lasagna and tortelli being the most traditional dishes in most Italian regions. Some of the fried sweets most popular across Italy during Carnivale are frittelle, cenci, chiacchiere and these little fried balls of dough called Castagnole. I have tasted a number of versions of Castagnole, and prefer mine as in this recipe simply dusted with powdered sugar after frying.
- 8 Ounces All-purpose Flour
- 2 Ounces Melted Butter
- 2 Whole Eggs
- 4 Tablespoons Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Liqueur or Brandy (I Used Amaretto)
- Oil For Frying
- Powdered Sugar
- Mix together the flour, butter, eggs, sugar and liqueur until blended.
- Heat up the oil in a heavy saucepan to 350 degrees F.
- Take a small spoonful of the dough (size of a large olive or 1 1/2 inches) and gently roll into a ball and drop into the hot oil.
- Fry until golden brown on all sides and then remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined tray to remove any excess oil.
- Dust liberly with powdered sugar and serve warm.