Castagnole, a typical carnival dessert, are small balls of fried dough rolled in sugar. They owe their name to the similarity of their shape to chestnuts and are a delight for the eyes and the palate.
Originally from Emilia Romagna, castagnole are now prepared and appreciated throughout Italy thanks to their simple preparation and wonderful taste. There are numerous ways to prepare them, such as with ricotta, with alchermes, or baked, and they are all delicious.
Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, then mix in the sugar, the seeds of the vanilla bean, and the grated zest of half a lemon.
Cut the soft butter into small pieces and add along with the egg, the egg yolk, the rum, and a pinch of salt and mix.
Stir in the milk and move the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead it until you get a soft dough, then wrap it in cling film and let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Divide the dough into six parts and make a thick cord from each piece.
Cut each cord into pieces of about 2 cm, then work them with your hands to form balls.
Heat the oil and fry a few balls at a time, paying close attention to the temperature of the oil. It must be hot but not excessively so, because otherwise the castagnole will burn on the outside and remain raw inside. Drain the castagnole and let them dry on absorbent paper, then roll them in the granulated sugar.
To cook the castagnole in the oven, simply place the balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them in a preheated oven at 350 F for 10-12 minutes. When they are still hot, dip them quickly in a small bowl with diluted orange juice, alchermes, or limoncello and then roll them in granulated sugar. Alternatively, simply sprinkle the hot castagnole with icing sugar.
How to store castagnole
It is preferable not to store the castagnole but to consume them the same day. The dough, on the other hand, can be stored in the refrigerator for a maximum of 1 day.