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Caragnole filled with Wine Grape Marmalade (Italian Christmas fritters, without yeast)
Originated from: Santa Croce di Magliano, Molise, Italy
Occasion: Christmas holidays
Contributed by: Mrs. Maria Brenna

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Caragnole [Sometimes spelled Caragnelle]

For pastry dough

3 eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
Flour as needed (about 2 cups to 2 1/4 cups)

For deep frying

Vegetable oil

For topping

about 1 cup wine grape marmalade


1. In a mixing bowl beat eggs.

2. Add sugar and mix well.

3. Add oil.

4. Mix flour and baking powder.

5. Add the flour slowly to the egg, sugar and oil mixture and work into a soft dough [The dough should be soft enough so that the pastry strips will later stick together, but hard enough that the dough can pass through a pasta maker]. If the dough is too soft, add a touch more flour; if it's too hard add a touch more oil. Knead (by hand) for a few minutes.

6. Divide the dough into two portions and shape them into balls. Wrap the dough-balls in clear plastic and place them in separate containers. Let the dough rest for 4 to 6 hours. [P.S. Nowadays, most cooks, concerned over the eggs spoiling, let the dough rest in the fridge but in the old days, the dough was kept at room temperature.]

7. Remove one of the dough-balls out of its container and form a log (Kind of like a biscotti log). With a sharp knife cut a small piece of dough (about 2 inches wide). Flour the piece of dough, and pass it through a pasta machine. The resulting pastry panel (or sheet) should be a bit thinner than a lasagna noodle (The second to last number on the pasta machine should result in the right thickness -- about an 1/8 of an inch thick). Ideally, the panel should measure about 28 inches long.

8. Using a serrated roller pastry cutter cut the pastry panel into strips about 1 3/4 inch wide x 26 inches long.

9. To make the rose wheel take a strip of dough and fold it over, then every inch or so pinch the two sides together so that there is an opening or cup between every pinch (One can place one's finger in the fold and then pinch on the side of the finger). When the strip of dough has been pinched and cups have been formed curl the dough onto itself, round and round, so that it looks like a rose. To retain this shape parts of the strips have to be pinched together.

10. Place the rose-wheel-shaped caragnole cookie on a flat surface.

11. Repeat steps 3,4, 5 and 6 for each piece of dough you cut. It's best to cut one panel at a time and turn that panel into caragnole as soon as possible as the dough hardens very quickly when exposed to the air and this interferes with the shaping of the fritter.

12. When all the the rose wheels are completed, fry them in hot vegetable oil until they are golden (Avoid browning them as they will taste burnt).

13. Place the fried rose wheels on kitchen paper towels so that the excess oil is usurped. Cool.

14. To glaze the rose wheels with honey heat one to two cups of honey in a pan and then dip the tops of the rose wheels one by one into the honey (Takes only a few seconds for the rose wheels to be coated with honey) and then place the honeyed rose wheel onto a prepared tray (Some cooks grease the tray so that this will prevent them from sticking to the surface). In any case it's best to place the caragnole in a large tray, so that they will avoid sticking together.

15. Alternatively, one can avoid step No. 10 and simply dust the caragnole with icing sugar after they have been fried and cooled.

16. Serve at room temperature (the fresher the better).


Mrs. Maria Brenna grew up in the town of Santa Croce di Magliano. She says that when she was a little girl many cooks added wine grape marmalade to their rose wheel shaped caragnole. Others, of course, did not use jam, but they did drizzle them with honey. Some cooks used musto cotto to flavor their caragnole. Photo: Mary Melfi.

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