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italian doughnuts
Doughnuts/Ciambelline (dough made without yeast, with butter; first boiled then fried; topped with icing sugar)
Originated from: Italy
Occasion: Any time
Contributed by: Taken from "Italian Cook Book" by Pellegrino Artusi (1945)

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6 oz. of water
a piece of butter as large as a nut
two teaspoons of sugar
a pinch of salt
4 oz. of flour [more if needed]
3 eggs
vanilla extract

A pot of water to boil the doughnuts

For dusting
Powdered sugar


Put a casserole containing 6 oz. of water, a piece of butter as large as a nut, two teaspoons of sugar, and a pinch of salt on the fire.

When it is boiling, dissolve 4 oz. of flour in it, throwing it in all at once, so that no lumps are formed, and start stirring immediately.

Take it from the fire quickly and while it is still boiling, break an egg into the liquid and mix it vigorously until it is well dissolved.

When the mixture is cold, add two more eggs at intervals, stirring continually until the ladle drags after it a thin veil of dough.

Add the vanilla extract, spread some flour on the pastry board and pour the dough on it.

Start working the dough with the hands covered with flour, and roll it up so that it is covered with enough flour to become consistent, but is still soft.

Divide the dough into 16 or 18 parts forming little balls slightly larger than nuts; make a hole in the middle of each ball by pressing it with the point of a finger against the pastry board and turning it on itself.

Turn the balls over and do the same on the opposite side, so that the hole becomes large and even, and the balls take on the appearance of doughnuts.

Put a wide pot of water on the fire and when the water is very hot, but not boiling, throwin in the doughnuts three or four at a time. If they stick tot he bottom, lift them with a perforated spoon, turn them and when they come to the top, take them out and place them on a piece of cloth.

With the point of a knife make an incision on each one, on both the exterior and interior sides so that the swelling in the pan will be more even.

Fry them in much grease on a low fire, shaking the pan often; if they have been made well they will grow to an extraordinary volume, remaining dry.

Cover them with powdered sugar when still warm and serve.


This recipe (#114) was taken from "The Italian Cook Book" adapted from the Italian of Pellegrino Artusi by Olga Ragusa. It was published by S.F. Vanni in New York in 1945. For the complete copyright cook book see www.archive.org. Photo: Mary Melfi.

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