Carnival Frittelle

by Iryna Venco on 10 March 2017

Traditional carnival frittelle recipe

It isn’t carnival without Venetian frittelle. Although frittelle are widespread throughout Italy, they are considered to be a “historical” sweet of the Serenissima Republic.

The Italian dictionary defines frittelle as a sweet made by deep frying a stiff dough mixed with other ingredients. The Venetian frittelle recipe has different variations. They can be made by adding sultanas or pine nuts, or they can be filled with custard.

Preparation time: about two hours (an hour and a half for rising)

Cooking time: about 15 minutes

Serves: six


  • 400g 00 flour (can be replaced with plain flour)
  • 30g fresh yeast
  • 60 ml water, warmed
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml milk, warmed
  • 2 tbsp rum
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • pinch of salt
  • 120g sultanas
  • peanut oil (or sunflower oil) for deep-frying


  1. Place the sultanas in a small bowl and cover with the lukewarm water. (If you want to give your sultanas some extra flavour, soak them in alcohol such as rum or brandy).
  2. Crumble the yeast into a bowl, then pour over the warm water. Stir until the yeast has dissolved.
  3. Place the flour, sugar and lemon zest into a large bowl and mix well. When preparing the lemon zest, grate the yellow outer skin but be careful not to grate the white pith underneath (this has a bitter taste).
  4. Pour the dissolved yeast into the flour mixture, add the rum and stir well with a wooden spatula.
  5. Break the eggs into a separate bowl, add a pinch of salt and whisk with a fork.
  6. Pour the eggs into the mixture and gradually add the milk. Continue to add milk a little at a time, combining well, until the mixture is stiff rather than fluid. You may not need to add all the milk, or you may need to add a little more. It depends on the type of the flour and the size of eggs you use.
  7. Strain the sultanas well and discard the water. Add them to the mixture and stir all the ingredients until well combined.
  8. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside to prove for about an hour and a half, or until doubled in size.
  9. Heat the oil to 170° in a deep pan (measure the temperature with a thermometer).
  10. Take small amounts of the dough (about half a tablespoon) and gently drop them one at a time into the hot oil. Cook each side until golden brown. Be careful not to make them too large, as then they can remain raw inside.
  11. Remove the cooked frittelle with a slotted spoon and place onto a plate lined with kitchen paper to soak up the excess oil.
  12. Sprinkle with caster sugar and serve.
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