Holidays are full of traditions… and in the Camerino family, we’ve got a few old oldies, but goodies.

You know it’s almost Christmas when Grispelle Sunday is planned.  It’s usually one of the first weekends in December and all the family gathers together at nonna’s house to make these fried “don-nuts”.  Grispelle are an old Calabrese tradition – a fried, DELICIOUS tradition.  You can eat them plain or covered in sugar.  In our family, they usually don’t make it onto a plate.  Rather, they mostly go from pan, to sugar (if you so desire), then to mouth.  Along with a bowl of pasta fagioli, this is a great dinner! And it’s a fun one that we look forward to spending together ogni anno (every year)!  I feel it’s important to keep traditions alive- they remind us of good times and help keep loved ones close.  I promise to keep this one going!

After some research online, here’s what I’ve discovered about Grispelle from Rosetta’s Calabria from Scratch site:

“The name, also written as grispedde or crespelle, comes from the Latin crispus, a reference to the crisp texture these doughnuts should have. In some homes, they are called vecchiarelle—little old ladies—because their wrinkled surface resembles the skin of an old woman. Other cooks shape the dough into rings before frying, in which case the fritters are called cuddurieddi. You can eat them as an appetizer straight from the fryer. For dessert, they are typically dusted with sugar or cinnamon sugar or served with honey for dipping.”

Here’s Mia, Lauren & Jake helping roll out the dough into the “don-nuts”

After we roll them into the donut shape, we put them on a tray covered in a little flower (so they don’t stick) and let them rest so they firm up a bit before being fried.

And into the frying pan they go! Make sure the oil is EXTRA HOT. They should turn a golden chesnuty brown (see batch in the back).

There she is! Nonna herself 🙂

After the Grispelle have cooled on a paper towel (to soak up the extra grease), you can either eat them plain, with a little sauce, or dip them in sugar. Sugar is an obvious favorite.

Nom Nom Nom! Jeff likes Grispelle too.

Grispelle Recipe

(Warm Christmas Doughnuts) Makes about 15 grispelle


-2 1/2 pounds potatoes, boiled and skinned, then pressed through a ricer

-2 eggs beaten slightly

-1 cup milk

-Salt to taste

-Cube of dry yeast, melted in warm water

-4 cups of flour, plus more (use until dough is workable and not sticky)


Add the flour and salt to the potatoes, then add the water with the dissolved yeast. Combine the ingredients with your hand until they come together into a sticky dough, then knead in the bowl, using one hand to steady the bowl and one hand to knead, until the dough is smooth and well blended, about 5 minutes. It will still be moist and a little sticky.

After making the dough, roll out the dough into strips and fold into the doughnut shape.  Then place on top of a dish towel (or mappina) & cover with another dish towels until they rise.

Fry 2 – 3 doughnuts at a time in VERY HOT OIL until they become golden, chesnutty brown.  Place on paper towels to let the excess oil drain.  Once they have cooled slightly, either eat plain or dip in granulated sugar.