Recipes   /   Cenci and Frittelle – Carnival Fritters

Cenci and Frittelle – Carnival Fritters

Feb 11, 2010 by Gabriele Corcos


This two recipes also are coming straight out of our family book.
Since I can remember in fact, every Carnival season my grandmother Lola used to deliver to our house a basket lined with a beautiful linen hand-embroidered cloth, full of Cenci she had been frying all day.
since we wanted to share the Cenci recipe we thought well to throw in the frying oil also some Frittelle di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph’s Rice Fritters).
This is deep frying Tuscan style, and it is not light… at all! 
But, if this year you are celebrating Carnival, no other treats are better to share some love with friends and family.
Preparation and cooking for Cenci and Frittelle are fairly easy, and I would highly recommend to attempt both recipes at the same time; at the end, since you will most likely do it again in a year from now (or at least that’s the way it is supposed to work), you just might give it a good shot and just have fun with it.


Serves: 8 / Prep Time: 20 mins / Inactive Prep Time: 30 mins / Cooking Time: 20 mins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Shot (1 1/2 ounces) of Vin Santo (or rum or brandy can do the trick as well)
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 4 cups safflower , vegetable, or canola oil for deep- frying
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish



Serves: 8 / Prep Time: 30 mins / Inactive Prep Time: 1 hr 30 mins / Cooking Time: 20 mins

  • 1 cup of long grain rice
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon of grated lemon zest
  • 2 shots (3 ounces) of Vin Santo (or brandy or rum)
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • 4 cups safflower, canola, or vegetable oil for deep-frying


1In a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, granulated sugar, melted butter, eggs, Vin Santo, and orange zest. Mix for 5 to 7 minutes, until the dough begins detaching from the sides of the bowl.

2Remove the dough from the bowl, seal it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

3Lightly dust a working surface with flour, roll the dough very thin, almost as if you were making fresh pasta (in fact, in case you have a pasta machine, that would do the trick too; I personally like to work with my old wood rolling pin).

4Use a pastry wheel or a pizza cutter to slice the dough into 5-inch long, 1- inch wide strips.

5In high-sided skillet, add the oil to a level of 2 inches. Heat the oil over high heat until the deep-frying thermometer reads 360 degrees F.

6Fry the strips of dough in batches (the cenci), flipping occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes per batch, until they curl slightly and acquire a golden brown color.

7 Transfer the cenci to a platter lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Dust with the confectioners’ sugar and serve with a glass of Vin Santo.



1In a small bowl, combine the raisins, 1 shot of Vin Santo, and enough water so the raisins are covered. Let sit for 30 minutes so the raisins can soften.

2In a 2-quart pot, combine 1 cup of water, the milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, the butter, and salt, and bring to a boil. Add the rice, reduce the heat to medium-low heat and cook for about 20 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed.

3Remove from the heat and transfer the rice to a large bowl to let cool. Stir the rice as it cools to keep the grains from sticking to each other.

4Drain the raisins.

5In a large bowl mix the cooked rice, add the flour, egg yolks, lemon zest, the second shot of Vin Santo, and drained raisins. Mix well and cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

6In high-sided skillet, add the oil to a level of 2 inches. Heat the oil over high heat until the deep-frying thermometer reads 360 degrees F. Using a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop, add small balls of the rice mixture to the hot oil.

7Move the frittelle around to ensure even frying, about 4 to 5 minutes per batch, and when they are a nice golden brown, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

8Place the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a cereal bowl. When the frittelle have slightly cooled, use your hands to roll them in the sugar until they are lightly dusted.


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