The tortelli (literally ‘small, cute cakes’) are deep-fried spoonfuls of choux pastry, sometimes filled with creme pat or chocolate cream. Plain tortelli, covered in plenty of granulated sugar, are often served at most sagre, the Italian village fairs that celebrate the local patron with a market and lots of food stands.

In many Italian regions, tortelli are the symbol of Carnival: they are very caloric and certainly a treat that should not be indulged in on a everyday basis. But it’s fine to dare a bit, at least once a year!

Makes: about 40 tortelli | Preparation time: 40-50 mins | Cooking time: 20 mins

  • White flour: 150 g
  • Butter, unsalted: 60 g
  • Granulated sugar: 50 g
  • Water: 250 ml
  • Eggs: 4
  • Lemon zest: of 1 lemon
  • A pinch of salt
  • Seed oil for deep-frying


Sift the flour and put it aside. Cut the butter in small pieces.

Put the water in a pot along with the butter, the lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Place the pot on the stove and bring the water to a boil; as soon as it starts to boil, add the flour and stir the mixture vigorously. Keep stirring energetically until the dough thickens up in a small ball and detaches itself from the walls of the pot.

Turn off the heat and leave the dough to cool down. Stir in the sugar and the eggs, one at a time, mixing the ingredients until the dough is smooth and homogeneous.

Heat up the seed oil and deep-fry the batter one spoonful at a time. Use a fork to turn the fritters, making sure that they are cooked through and of an even golden colour. Use a skimmer to remove the fritters from the oil and place them on some kitchen paper to absorb the oil left on the fritters’ surface.

Sprinkle plenty of granulated sugar on your tortelli before serving them.

Tip: The tortelli will be even more delicious if you fill them up with creme pat! Just use a pastry syrynge to squeeze the creme pat inside each fritter.

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