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Sfrappole of Carnival recipe: a typical Bolognese sweet treat

Sfrappole of Carnival recipe

In Italian (and in Emilian) are called frappe.

But if you’re in Bologna during the Carnival, ask for sfrappole.

What a lovely term, isn’t it? 

That “s” Bolognese floats between the lips, keeping the word as if suspended in the mouth. Sfrappole begin to be tasted already from the name.

You can find these fried treats in each Italian region, albeit by different names.
But despite it, you’ll find the same recipe.

Italian frappe are known as sfrappole in Bologna, fiocchetti in Romagna and with many other names in the other Italian regions: chiacchiere, crostoli, sprelle, galani, meraviglie, cenci.

Thin as a veil or thick and doughy, it is dressed in a cloud of powdered sugar and changes shape according to family customs. The sfrappola can be lozenge-shaped or knotted into a bow, as my grandmother used to do when I was a child.

It is the queen of fried Carnival sweets.

Sfrappole of Carnival recipe: a typical Bolognese sweet treat

Italian Carnival

In Italy, Carnival is two weeks of celebrations, where each city has its own “Carnevale” traditions, from the inevitable fried dolce to parades, costumes, masks, and more.

Carnevale celebrations include children dressing up in costumes and masks, town festivals, and parades. Mixed among the modern-day costumes, you’ll also find children dressed in some historical costumes and masks portraying a classic Carnevale character, each with its own story.

The most famous Italian Carnival is in Venice. On that occasion, people, not only children, dress in elegant costumes and beautiful masks.

Doctor Balanzone, also known as Dottore, is one of the festival’s most famous characters from Bologna. He claims to be a professor and wears a large black hat with a wide brim, a black mask, and a black cape. 

Other typical masks from Emilia-Romagna include Fagiolino and Sandrone.

Sfrappole, my home recipe

Sfrappole are thin, fried ribbons (but the shape are several: rhombus, squares, rectangles) of dough topped with powdered sugar. It is such a simple cake when you think about it, flour-sugar-eggs, and, the same, so special.

The base is like pasta dough, and the procedure to make it is the same. Also, the tools you need are the same for sfoglia: a cutting board, a rolling pin, and a pasta cutter.

Then you roll out the pasta dough thinly. If you are not very experienced, make it with a pasta machine. Once the dough is smooth and thin, use a pasta cutter to make the sfrappole in the shape you prefer.

If you are making sfrappole for the first time, I suggest you make rhomboids or squares, medium-sized, which fry evenly.

If you want to make a ribbon, roll out long, thin rectangles and gently tie the dough.

The recipe I am sharing is one of nonna Sara’s from home and my childhood.
I’ve eaten tons of sfrappole in my life.
And even today thin ones my grandmother made are my favorite, along with her 
apple fritters.

Buona cucina, Monica

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Sfrappole of Carnival recipe

Food Tips

Make a healthier version cooking frappe into the oven at 180C degrees for about 10 minutes or until borders golden.

My grandma used Rosolio liqueur aroma to flower: What you should know about Italian Rosolio liqueurs.

Sfrappole of Carnival recipe

serves 4-6

00 flour, 400 g
eggs, 3
1 small glass of cognac, 20 g
caster sugar, 100 g
1 pinch of baking powder (less than 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 small glass of olive oil, 20 g
a pinch of salt

optional: filtered juice of 1 blond orange

You need:
sunflower oil for frying
powdered sugar to taste


Mix together all of the dry ingredients.

Pour the mix onto a wooden pastry board or on a large working surface, make a little well in the centre and put eggs and cognac and orange juice there.

Knead all the ingredients with your hands, as if to make homemade pasta. Knead it at least for 10 minutes, until the dough becomes very elastic and smooth and it no longer sticks to your hands.

Let stand for about 10 minutes and once it begins to harden, roll out the dough with a rolling pin or with the pasta machine to make long and paper thin sheets of pasta, about 1 or 2 mm thick, so that the frappe will be feather light when fried.

Cut the pasta sheets with a knife or a wheel into long, thin strips or cubes or rhombus.
Fry in a large pan with vegetable hot oil until for about 30 seconds for side and when they become golden in color, carefully remove them from the oil and place on a plate covered with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar just when cold.

Carnival fried dough recipe: frappe from Bologna

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