There's nothing like celebrating Carnevale in Italy. It is not only about colourful masks and fun: Carnevale sweets are the true symbol of the festival that is celebrated in Italy between February and March (culminating on Mardi Gras) , leaving behind a trail of confetti and saturated fats.
Fried or baked carnevale desserts are a tradition in every Italian region, with some differences but also many similarities in terms of ingredients, shapes and method of preparation.
We highlight eight different recipes for traditional Italian Carnevale sweets that will make you forget all the good intentions of the new year (remember them? To eat less and healthier?), but that will also give you so much joy when you consume them for breakfast, dessert or snack time.
Italian Carnevale Sweets: The Recipes
BIGNÈ DI S.GIUSEPPE (Italian Cream Puffs)
These are some of the most beloved fried carnevale desserts: the Bignè di S.Giuseppe are filled with custard and strictly immersed in boiling oil.
LE FRITTELLE DI CARNEVALE (Italian Carnevale Fritters)
These fritters are among the most traditional Italian recipes for Carnevale. Incredibly enough they are very simple to make.
The recipe begins by boiling the wet ingredients and combining them with flour and eggs. They are beaten to form a dough that may include extras such as raisins or orange zest. Then they are fried to perfection and dusted with sugar. Sounds tempting, no?
Learn how to make fritelle with this video:
Chiacchiere di Carnevale
We are talking about a real institution of the Carnevale: the chiacchiere. Crispy fried dough whose name translates to 'chatter'. However, the chiacchere go by different names depending on the region. One of the most fun names is bugie, which translates to 'lies'.
In the Northwestern Italian region of Piedmont the bugie are filled with different flavours of jam. Yum!
KRAPFEN DI CARNEVALE (Custard Filled Donuts)
Krapfen are another classic Italian carnevale sweet. These custard or jam-filled donuts are another delicacy that is a real symbol of pleasure whose name reveals its Austrian origins.
CASTAGNOLE DI CARNEVALE
This Carnevale sweet is typical of the Romagna region. Castagnole are small morsels of pasta made with flour, eggs and sugar. They are fried then rolled in sugar or soaked in a syrup. These delectable sweets are appreciated even outside the regional borders.
Here we propose an 'alternative' and very interesting version of castagnole with sunflower honey:
FRITTELLE DI MELE (Apple Fritters)
Do you still need an excuse to prepare one of these fried sweets? Allow these tempting apple fritters to convince you. They are great for breakfast or as a quick dessert. Definitely not light, but everything is worth it at Carnevale, right?
For this recipe you will need: 2 eggs, 200 ml (7 oz) of milk, a pinch of salt, 150g ( 1 1/8 cup) flour, 8g (1/4 tsp) yeast, 2 apples (cored and sliced into rings) and sprinkle of cinnamon sugar.
RAVIOLI DI CARNEVALE (Sweet Ravioli)
These are the crowning glory of Italian carnevale sweets: the ravioli. These beauties are stuffed with ricotta, sugar and cinnamon then fried until golden. They are a treat that will leave you wanting seconds (but who is keeping track?).
KRAPFEN DI CARNEVALE DELL'ALTO ADIGE (Donuts from Alto Adige)
This recipe comes from the mountainous region of South Tyrol, which borders Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria.
Traditionally, the fried dumplings are first filled with apricot jam and grappa before being cooked in hot oil. They are less suitable for children, but a wonderful treat for adults.