Castagnole are one of the most popular fried sweets served up throughout Carnival season in Venice. If you're heading to Venice during the Carnival, you will find them in many pastry shops, but they are surprisingly simple to whip up at home.
In this recipe besides plain flour we use also two gluten-free flours - almond and chestnut flour. Both almond and chestnut flour gives these fried balls specific flavour and texture. If you would like to make completely gluten-free version skip the plain flour and increase the amount of other two flours.
The chestnut flour is widely used in Italy for preparation of delicious desserts and other dishes. You may wonder where to buy the chestnut flour. You can find it at your local specialty food stores as well as ordered online.
Almond flour is made from ground blanched almonds that are ground into fine flour. Almond flour is not the same as almond meal. We use one part of almond flour which gives different texture to castagnole.
We didn't add any sugar in this recipe as chestnut flour is naturally sweet and gives enough sweetness to castagnole. Orange juice along the finely grated orange zest give an extra freshness to these sweets.
If you are after a quick sweet bite try with these simple recipe and enjoy freshly fried castagnole along the cup of coffee or tea!
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Chestnut Flour Castagnole Recipe
MAKES: 30 COOKS IN: 30 minutes DIFFICULTY: Easy
100 g chestnut flour
50 g almond flour
50 g plain flour
2 medium eggs
100 g ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon amaretto
Juice of one orange
Grated zest of one orange
1 pinch of salt
Sunflower oil for frying
Sift the chestnut flour and plain flour to the large bowl to get rid of lumps and then add almond flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt. Combine everything together using a spoon.
Make a well in the centre and break the eggs into it. Whisk them slightly and then add orange juice, orange zest, ricotta and one tablespoon of amaretto liqueur. Begin to stir all the ingredients with a spatula until everything is combined.
Now, knead the dough until you have a smooth and slightly sticky ball. Wrap it in cling film and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Fill 3/4 of a deep, medium-sized frying pan with sunflower oil. Place it over a medium heat until the oil shimmers.
Form the small balls of the size of chestnuts from the dough and fry them in batches of 5 - 6 until crisp and golden all around (for about 3 - 4 minutes).
Drain them with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Leave them to cool slightly, then dust with icing sugar and enjoy them while still warm.
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