Last month just as the Christmas holidays were coming to an end, I was reminded it’s Carnevale time when I saw frappe and castagnole in bakery shops. Bakery shops in Rome sure know how to move from one festivity to another without losing a beat.
As I have made a commitment to eat healthy after the serious food marathon we had during the Christmas holidays, I have refrained from them until yesterday!
Some of you may know that I am still recovering from laryngitis and have been home for the past two weeks. Feeling much better and craving some castagnole, I decided I can try to make some at home. The question was whether to make castagnole al forno (baked) or classic ones which are fried.
Personally, the closest thing to frying for me is stir or pan frying as the smell of grease at home bothers me too much. However, with some time on my hand, I decided to make both and will share my verdict with you at the end of this post.
Carnevale Treats: Castagnole al Forno – Recipe
250 grams flour
80 grams sugar
70 grams butter
250 ml water
1. Put water in a pot with butter over medium heat.
2. When the butter has melted, add flour and sugar. Then turn off the fire.
3. Mix rigorously until you get a homogenous dough.
4. Add eggs in one at a time and mix well to make sure they are well incorporated.
5. Leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
6. After 30 minutes, with the help of a teaspoon, form balls and place them on a baking sheet.
7. Bake them at 180C for 20-25 minutes.
8. Generously dust with icing sugar.
The idea of adding flour and sugar to the butter mixture seems similar to making profiteroles and I wasn’t sure how this would turn out.
In fact, it turned out very well and you can see that it’s crisp on the outside but nice and fluffy inside. I also made only 1/3 of the recipe using one egg and it worked out perfectly.
Castagnole Recipe – Fried
300 grams of all-purpose flour or in Italy 00′
200 grams sugar
70 grams butter
Grated lemon rind
5 grams baking powder (lievito)
Oil to fry
Granulated sugar to coat the castagnole
1. In a bowl beat eggs and sugar.
2. Add melted butter and lemon rind.
3. Add flour and baking powder (lievito).
4. Mix well to until the dough is smooth and homogenous.
4. Leave it covered for 40 minutes.
5. After 40 minutes, add oil to a frying pan over low heat.
6. While waiting for the oil to be hot, with the help of a spoon, form balls. When the oil is hot, drop in the balls of dough and cook until light brown. Note: The next time, I would make the balls smaller!
7. Remove them with a slotted spoon and drain them on a double layer of paper towels.
8. Roll them in the sugar.
When frying the castagnole, make sure the flame is low so the outside won’t burn while the inside remains uncooked. Also keep an eye on it constantly – mine were a bit burnt! Here’s how the inside looks.
Verdict: al Forno (baked) or Fried
The first recipe I made was the castagnole al forno and I was very happy with the results. However, I did find it a bit dry but wasn’t surprised as it’s, after all, baked. As for the fried castagnole, they were definitely more moist.
All said, I would say that even though the fried castagnole were tastier, I would probably make the castagnole al forno again rather than their fried counterparts. It’s mainly because I don’t like frying and the difference in taste was not substantial enough to convince me otherwise.
So if you decide to make these for Carnevale, would you choose the baked or fried versions?