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Alternate spelling: Castagnolli (Dorothy swears that's the correct spelling)


These are a light fried pastry similar to zeppoli or fried dough. I fondly remember Gram making these when I was young. I especially remember the hand motion that she used to stretch out the dough as they were falling into the hot oil. When we were trying to figure out how to make these, I felt a great sense of comfort when I saw Dorothy perform those familiar motions.

On 2-11-03, we made Castaniolli from a recipe my mom has that was written in Ida's handwriting. See below for the original!


From that session, we came up with the following recipe


  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 lemon, the rind & juice
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1 1/2 oz. whiskey
  • 1 1/2 oz. Anisette
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  1. Heat vegetable oil 1 inch deep in a large pot until just below the smoking temperature.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugar. Then mix in the lemon rind and juice, oil, whiskey, Anisette and flour with baking power.
  5. Fold the egg whites into the large bowl.
  6. The dough will be sticky and wet so work with oil on your hands. Pick up some dough and form it into a roughly 3/8" x 1 1/2" shape while dropping it into the oil. The exact shape isn't important, a bit of variety is actually to enlarge
  7. Let them cook for a few minutes in the oil. They will usually flip over on their own (!!!) when they are done on one side. Cook until evenly light-golden brown.
  8. Put into a dish and pour honey over all.

Original Recipe in Ida's Handwriting


3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 lemon - rind + juice
6 eggs
1 glass of whiskey
1 glass of Anesette
1/2 wine glass oil
a handful of sugar

Mix egg yolks and sugar then put in lemon rind and juice, oil, whiskey, Anesette and flour with baking power and last the stiffly beaten whites of eggs. Mix all together. Dough will be sticky. Work with oil on your hands when making castaniollis. Let set for a while then fry in deep oil and keep shaking pot as they are cooking until golden color. Put into dish and pour honey over all.