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Dolce Queen

Every month, award-winning pastry chef Ale Gambini will share a recipe with the readers of Appetito. We begin this series, Dolce Queen, in April 2023 with a celebratory sweet of Carnevale, feted last month in the northern regions but still worth celebrating now with this amazing recipe. 

“Semel in anno licet insanire” or it is allowable to go crazy at least once a year. That’s exactly the spirit of Carnevale, the period before the beginning of the Lent, when people in Italy throw colorful parties, dress up in spectacular costumes and masks, celebrate in the streets with festive parades, allegorical floats, coriandoli (paper confetti), stelle filanti (paper streamers) and delicious sweet treats such as tortelli (fritters) and chiacchiere (sweet fried dough). 

Carnevale has always been one of my favorite Italian traditions because this was the time of the year when my grandmother Fernanda used to make her delicious fritters:Tortelli di Carnevale. Tortelli are fluffy fried dough balls coated with abundant granulated sugar and made with a few wholesome ingredients that might slightly differ from region to region. These typical Italian treats are called differently depending on the region where they are prepared: Tortelli in Lombardy; Frittelle (or Fritole) in Veneto; Castagnole in Emilia Romagna and Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Bignole in Piedmont. 

Time to put the apron on and make Tortelli!

Tortelli di Carnevale Recipe

Tortelli di Carnevale

Tortelli di Carnevale

Recipe by Ale Gambini
0.0 from 0 votes
Cuisine: Italian

Tortelli are fluffy fried dough balls coated with abundant granulated sugar and made with a few wholesome ingredients that might slightly differ from region to region


  • 1.1 lb flour type 00

  • 1 sachet (1/2 oz or 16 grams vanilla baking powder

  • 5 tbs granulated sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 egg yolk

  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel

  • 1/2 shot Cognac

  • 2 cups whole milk

  • vegetable oil and lard, for frying

  • granulated sugar, to coat


  • In a large bowl, put flour, sugar, and vanilla baking powder.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, grated lemon peel. Stir the ingredients with a spoon until combined.
  • Add the Cognac, the milk, and mix thoroughly.
  • Cover the bowl with cling wrap and let it rest for 1 hour.
  • In a large skillet, heat abundant oil with a couple of tablespoons of lard.
  • Fry the fritters by dropping spoonfuls of batter into the hot oil.
  • Drain the fritters with a slotted spoon and place them onto a plate lined with a paper towel.
  • Enjoy warm dusted with abundant granulated sugar.

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