Overhead view of a bowl full of fried pastries

Cenci - Carnival Fried Pastry

A crunchy sweet ribbon of fried pastry dough, with a hint of orange zest and sweet wine, covered with a thin layer of powdered sugar.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword carnival treat, sweet treats for a crowd
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4 people


  • 240 g (1 cup) Flour
  • 20 g (1 tbsp) Butter melted
  • 20 g (1 1/2 tbsp) Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 tbsp Vin Santo Sweet Wine
  • 1 Orange Zest
  • Salt
  • Peanut Oil
  • Powdered Sugar


  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour with sugar, orange zest and a pinch of salt. Add the room temperature melted butter and the whisked eggs.
  • Mix everything together, then slowly add the liquor, continuing the kneading. If the dough is already wet and sticky, add less liquor than stated in the recipe, or add a little more flour. Knead with your hands until you get a soft and uniform dough, lightly sticky.
  • Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
  • Transfer the dough on a floured board and knead again for a couple of minutes, then divide it in 4 and flatten it with a rolling pin or a pasta machine. Roll the dough until you get a thin sheet (I used number 2 in the pasta machine).
  • Cut the dough into ribbons 2x5 inches (5x13 cm) and cut a slit or 2 in the center.
  • In a large pan, bring the peanut oil to temperature 375°F/190°C. If you don't have a thermometer, you can test by tossing a tiny piece of dough, if it starts frying immediately it's ready.
  • Then add 2 or 3 Cenci at a time (don't crowd them or the temperature will go down).
  • Fry for a couple of minutes on each side, until golden brown. Then transfer to a plate covered with kitchen paper to absorb the excess oil.
  • Adjust the heat accordingly if the Cenci brown too quickly or if they take too much time to brown, trying to keep the oil temperature constant.
  • Add a sheet of kitchen paper on every layer, to absorb the excess oil. Let the Cenci cool down, then transfer them to a serving bowl, sprinkling powdered sugar on every layer to uniformly coat them.


To store them, cover the bowl with kitchen paper to absorb any moisture and keep the Cenci crispy and crunchy for 3-4 days.