Sunday, 5 June 2011

Ciambelline di farina e patate (Italian Homemade doughnuts) Eccezionali!

As I walked through the streets of old Modugno, in the hot April sun, I could smell roses... the heat of the sun made the scent so sweet and deep, I couldn't help getting somehow lost in memories of a time when my mother would take me out, to the countryside, to make sure I grew up appreciating all the beautiful things that you just didn't see in  the city. 


We love walking round the streets of historic Modugno!

And I remembered a villa, just beyond the Bari Nord station crossing. Where now stand tall buildings, when I was a little girl, was countryside. And that villa was covered with so many roses, you couldn't see the bricks!

We picked bunches of multicoloured roses,  had a cold drink with my mum's friend "La signora delle rose" and went back to our city life. On our way Mamma showed me artichokes, growing in fields and lemons, growing on trees. And I thought they just came in boxes, from somewhere out of space!
Anyway! Off the Tardis... Grown up me went back to my sister's  house. Standing on her terrazza, in Modugno, you could reach the neighbour's huge lemon tree, so big you could easily get lost, looking down, into the foliage.

On the rooftop. A beautiful chimney!

My sister picked one of those lemons and used it to make "ciambelline", doughnut rings, made using, amongst the other ingredients, the zest of a lemon!
Today, I made my own ciambelline, using her recipe. I also made crystallized rose petals. Now... these are only edible if the petals you use were not sprayed with any kind of chemical... mine are totally organic, so I used them.
Well... here is the recipe. If I can make ciambelline, so can you! But... guess what? I left the last two in the pan and... they burnt!

Ciambelline con patate

Makes 25
1/2 kg (1 lb 1oz) plain (00-all purpose) flour
1/2 (1 lb 1oz) kg potatoes, boiled and mashed
30 g  (1 oz and a bit!) live (fresh) yeast
large pinch salt
zest of one lemon
1 egg
Oil for frying

I boiled my potatoes in a pan of hot water. I didn't peel them, as I didn't want them to disintegrate or become watery. Once cooked, I peeled and mashed the potatoes. They looked lovely and dry.

Having placed my flour in a mixing bowl, I added the mashed potatoes, the egg, a generous pinch of salt, the zest of one beautiful lemon and the yeast. ( if you can't buy live yeast, any bakery, supermarket or pizza place will let you have some!) As I mixed the ingredients together (I did this by hand, but you don't have to) I added some warm water ( I used about 1/2 cup, but the amount can vary.)
You should get a soft dough. If it's too soft, you can add more flour. At this stage you can start making your "rings" by using small pieces of dough (about the size of a golf ball) rolled out in the shape of a sausage and then joint, as you can see in the picture.

I placed all my lovely little rings onto a clean cloth, covered them and left them for a good 20-25 minutes ( I actually forgot and left mine to "rest" for longer than that. ) By this time they would have increased in size.


I don't usually fry things, so I don't own a deep fat fryer... just a pan which is redundant most of the time. Anyway! I heated some oil and when really, really HOT, I started frying my ciambelle. I gave them about two minutes per side and made sure they were cooked inside. I could smell the yeast all over my kitchen (as a child I used to eat live yeast, then, as I grew up, I started mixing it with water to make a face mask! Funny!)

I placed my little cakes onto kitchen paper, then in my very beautiful glazed Wedgwood dish and decorated with crystallized rose petals!


I will just eat these with my eyes (it's true!)

A very generous sprinkling of caster sugar made my ciambelline sweet and delicious! I love the rose petals!


  1. Anna, you have brought sunshine and roses to a very damp and rather gloomy Sunday! Thank you! Jane

  2. Jane, I'm glad you liked my roses. It's sunny here. The birds are singing and eating all my cherries, as they ripen!

  3. Anna what a delicious treat. I have not tasted rose petals but I can imagine they must be a delicacy. Your kitchen must have had the most wonderful smells wafting in the air.

  4. Helen, I had some of the crystallized rose petals and they tasted really good: crunchy because of the sugar. And the flavour... good and strange... like eating scent, or solid rose water! Really good, and certainly a new experience for my taste buds!

  5. Anna, your little doughnuts look wonderful, especially the way you have dressed them with the rose petals. When you talked of the lemon trees, you reminded me of when I first went to Italy and saw the lemons growing I was amazed. I also love to see lemons and oranges for sale with the leaves still on, something you never see here. Thankyou so much for your visits to my blog and the really lovely comments you made, I am very touched. Thankyou for following me, I will be glad to follow you too, as I love all things Italian and all things food related! Have a lovely week, love Linda x

  6. Linda, thank you for all the compliments. I enjoy my blog, as it is good, innocent fun. I love taking photos of the food I cook and making my dishes look pretty. I love roses, too, and this is what drew me to your "delicious" blog.

    I love your Cath Kidston handbag, by the way! I want one!

    Wish you a lovely week, too...


  7. I am calling by to say thankyou for leaving a lovely comment on News From Italy recently, it is appreciated I hope you will visit again. your blog looks lovely so I have signed up as your latest follower. Your photography for this doughnut recipe is great.

  8. Benvenuta al mio blog, Lindy! I will certainly visit your blog again. It's so interesting being able to somehow explore my country through the eyes of someone who chose to make it their home. I love your garden and all the little things you show, which say "home" to me.

  9. Anna, many thanks for the visit and the kind comments. The bag isn't Cath Kidston, but looks like one, it's still lovely and I am very pleased with it. Have a great weekend, love Linda x