These are typical fritters made for Carnevale. They are extremely simple and very popular all over Italy. Of course, each region has its own slight variations in the name and ingredients.
In most recipes, there is the possible addition of liquor (grappa, Sambuca) and butter, but I prefer my grandmother’s recipe.
Replacing the liquor with vinegar is a touch of pure genius, even if it seems quite odd. Adding liquors helps the dough not absorb the oil during the frying, but vinegar works even more efficiently, and the taste evaporates during the cooking. This is a recipe that, in spite of being a fried food, is much lighter than its official version.

Cenci - Carnival fritters
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins

The most popular and simple fritters in Italy, my granmother's variation of the standard recipe makes them even lighter and yummy.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Author: Carlotta Conti
  • 1 cup 00 flour 130 gr.
  • 1 medium size egg
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar 15 ml.
  • 1 tbsp olive oil 15 ml.
  • 1 tbsp white sugar 15 gr.
  • icing sugar for sprinkling the fritters
  • peanut oil for frying
  1. On a wooden pastry board pour the flour in a mound, make a hole at its center and pour the egg.

    00 Flour
  2. Add sugar, vinegar and olive oil in it to the mound.

    Mixing in the egg, oil & vinegar.2
  3. Starting with a fork, slowly add the flour to the liquid in the middle, gradually adding more flour all the time. Mix well.

    Mixing in the egg, oil & vinegar
  4.  When all the flour is mixed in, start to knead the dough. 

    Knead the dough
  5. When smooth, roll out by hand using a rolling pin, turning as you work.

    Roll the dough
  6. Roll the dough into a sheet about 2 mm thick. If using a pasta machine, continue to feed dough through rollers once at each setting, without folding, until you reach the second to narrowest setting.

    Rolling the dough
  7. Cut the dough in diamonds, to about 10cm (4”) long.

    Cut dough, ready to fry
  8. Carefully place the pieces into the oil. Fry the diamonds a few pieces at a time, turning carefully with two forks to gently lift each piece. The dough will bubble as it cooks. 

    Place the pieces in to fry
  9. When light brown, remove and let cool on paper towel. Sprinkle the icing sugar while still warm, and serve.

    Remove when lightly brown
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About the Author

Growing up in Emilia Romagna, a region known for Parmesan, Parma ham, lasagna, and filled pasta, a great deal of my childhood was spent in the kitchen with my grandmother and mother.

Even at a very young age, I could see that for them cooking was a passionate expression of their love for their family. While I’m filled with many warm memories of watching them cook, what I remember most is circling the table and watching the stove, waiting for any opportunity I could to steal a taste.