Crostoli is a delightfully addictive and moreish biscuit, dusted with a generous layer of icing sugar.

Bianca says…

In the 1960s, my paternal grandmother migrated to Australia from a small town in northern Italy called Arcade. The food she cooked was hearty and warm, reflecting Venetian cooking and cuisine. I have memories of going to my nonna’s and smelling her pot of ragu sauce boiling away, seeing trays upon trays of gnocchi waiting to be boiled for dinner and, of course, the big bowl of hot polenta steaming on the dinner table.

There is one dessert common to the Veneto region that is a crowd favourite: crostoli. It’s universally appreciated, especially after dinner with coffee from the moka pot – even the fussiest children like it. Crostoli is a delightfully addictive and moreish biscuit, dusted with a generous layer of icing sugar.

Last year, I decided that I wanted to try and make crostoli. Sadly, my grandmother had a stroke five years ago, and has forgotten how to cook. I wanted my crostoli to taste exactly like my grandmother’s, so I took to the internet for the recipe and experimented until I developed my own. Like a mad scientist, working in the kitchen until the early hours of the morning, I was determined to replicate my grandmother’s crostoli as closely as I could before her birthday.

Crostoli requires some sort of alcohol, either grappa, vodka, dessert wine or rum. It is essential, as it allows the biscuit to bubble up when you cook it in the hot oil; it’s how you get that crunchy yet delicate biscuit. My dad mentioned that his mum used beer in her crostoli. “Beer?” I questioned, because no recipes online mention the use of beer. So I made a batch with beer and it worked perfectly! When my mum took a bite, she nodded her head and said “This tastes exactly like Nonna’s.”





Approx 80 pieces

3 small eggs
1 egg yolk
⅔ cup caster sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Zest of 1 lemon (or orange)
1 teaspoon salt
600g plain flour
7 tablespoons beer (specifically Carlton Dry)
55g butter, at room temperature
750ml canola oil 


Combine eggs, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla, citrus zest and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer, whisk thoroughly until the eggs are evenly combined. (It’s important to use small eggs. If you have large eggs, use 2 eggs and 1 yolk.)

Sift the flour into the bowl, and begin to mix on the lowest setting, using the hook attachment. Increase the speed slightly and pour the beer into the bowl while the dough is being kneaded. After 3 minutes, the dough should have structural integrity: tough and hard to pull apart.

Slowly add the cubed softened butter into the mixture, and keep kneading the dough until the butter has fully incorporated. The dough should be softer now. Allow your dough to rest (no longer than 15 minutes).

Pour the oil into a stainless-steel saucepan so that it’s 6cm high in the pan. Preheat your oil on the stovetop, keep it on a medium-high heat.

Pass the dough through a pasta machine, starting with the widest setting. Continue to fold and pass dough through the machine, decreasing the thickness with each fold until the dough gets to the stage where it has almost become transparent. Cut into rectangles, about 5–6cm wide, and add a slit down the middle.

Place the crostoli into the hot oil, in batches of 3 or 4 pieces at a time. They will bubble up almost immediately. Flip them over once in the oil. Both sides should be a golden brown. Remove, and place onto absorbent paper. Allow to cool. Generously dust with icing sugar and enjoy!

Published in Ed#709