The typical castagnola (which actually means little chestnut, castagna, in Italian) is on the more firm side and they are not too sweet. There are other recipes out there that are very soft. I’m mostly familiar with this recipe from my mother-in-law and it’s more firm and best eaten on the same day, which is typical of most fried treats. I made my version without any alcohol for flavoring and used lemon zest and vanilla extract. I also used oat milk instead of regular milk and margarine for my dairy free family member. But feel free to use butter and milk.
CASTAGNOLE-FRIED SWEET DOUGH BALLS
- 2 1/4 cup flour plus 1/4 for rolling dough
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 4 Tbsp. butter melted
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large Eggs
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 cups of vegetable oil for deep-frying enough for a 2- quart saucepan
- confectioner’s sugar for serving
- In a small bowl, add the flour, baking powder, lemon zest and whisk together; set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl add the butter, sugar, and vanilla; mix together with a wooden. Stir in the milk. Add in the flour and mix all the ingredients together.
- Dump the dough onto a lightly floured and clean surface and gently knead until combined, adding a spoonful of flour if needed if you find the dough is too sticky. When the dough is smooth, roll out portions a bit at a time into 1-inch thick logs and cut into 1-inch pieces. Cover the remaining dough with a clean tea towel until you are ready to work with it.
- Add the oil into your pan on medium high heat. When the oil is hot enough (temperature should be 350F), start adding about 8 dough balls at a time. Turn them around while frying so that all sides get color and that they aren’t raw in the middle. Remove the castagnole with a slotted spoon and place them on a paper towel lined plate.
- When completely cool, dust with confectioner’s sugar.