Tortellini dolci al forno - Carnival time

In countries of Catholic traditions, Carnival comes before a period of compulsory fasting called Lent.Maybe, well actually I am quite sure, fasting is not compulsory anymore, but I think we still deserve to taste this “tempting” and somewhat surprising, baked sweet. Don’t feel guilty, it is Carnival time.

Tortellini Dolci are made with a short pastry wrapping, the filling usually made of plum jam. They can be deep-fried or, the way I prefer, baked in the oven. During Carnival time, and not only, Tortellini Dolci can be found nearly at every bakery in Emilia Romagna, but, you bet, I prefer by far the version we prepare at home. It is really different and has a few more ingredients that give an incomparable zest. How to prepare the right type of short pastry is probably not a secret to you, but still, follow my suggestions as the balance in cooking is everything, and yet we should add something unexpected in the filling. Ok, let’s not digress too much.


500 g flour
3 eggs
120 g butter
150 g sugar
Ice sugar
Baking powder


Take the butter out the fridge and while still hard, ground 120 g in tiny pieces with a large knife, work it with fingers so to obtain a clotted “pulverized” compound, then create a fountain onto a wooden board, spray with icing sugar, top with a bigger fountain of 500 g of white flour, and in the center, break 2 eggs, add 1 yolk, 150 g of sugar, a dot of baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Mix with a fork and knead quickly with your hands until you get relatively firm dough. You must be quick and if the dough is too hard and crumbles, you can add a little orange juice. Let it rest for half an hour.


The fill
500 g dried chestnuts
½ orange peel
Sour black cherry jam (alternatively, sour plum jam)
Quince jam
Tangerine jam (alternatively, orange marmalade)


During the night you had soaked 500 g of dried chestnuts, cover with new water and boil until soft with two tablespoons of sugar and the peel of half orange. Squash the chestnuts with a fork to make an uneven grainy compound. Add 2 tablespoon of sour black cherry jam, 2 table spoons of quince jam, 2 tablespoons of tangerine jam. Finally the tortelliniRoll out the dough with the rolling pin until 2 millimeters high, stencil with the tortellini little mould, the shape of a fan 5 cm long, fill, sear and put in pre-heated oven at 175° C for about 30 minutes. Let cool off and happily spray ice sugar.
Tips: A pinch of salt in the short pastry adds to the sweetness!
Using the hard cold butter makes a better short pastry, but you have to be quick.
The short pastry dough must rest ½ hour.
The flavors of short pastry, mashed chestnuts contain elements of basicity that are greatly balanced by the acidity of the two sour jams, while quince jam fills the gaps: a pleasant surprise. Over the generations of the Bertazzoni Family, the original recipe has never been modified in its fundamental ingredients, or, I suppose, just slightly improved to what today is one of my favorite carnival treats. The mix of grainy mashed chestnuts with the three types of jam fills the mouth with a cascade of flavors, after the first bite of golden, crunchy short pastry. The sour jams are a great contrast to the chestnuts, taste is freshened and no “greasy” feeling is left on the tongue. Hunting for, or producing the rather “eccentric” jams is really worth the effort, in my opinion.I said before, Tortellini al Forno are “one” of my favorite treats, I have in mind another sweetie that is at least on par, maybe just less complicated, but this will come to you later.