Lemon Pinwheels :Le Marche Dolci di Carnevale 

Today is Giovedi Grasso or Fat Thursday ( doesn’t sound so good in English). A day that starts the real partying of the final weekend before Lent.   In Italy there is also,  Martedi Grasso (Fat Tuesday) or  Shrove Tuesday as it’s known in the UK which marks the end of the pre Lent Carnival Festival.

It’s not only Venice that enjoys carnival in Italy! In Le Marche are numerous events, processions, parties, with lots of dressing up and over indulging.

Gloved Grasso is a day for indulging in rich, sweet and in Le Marche often fried pastries. My daughters enjoyed an extra long break at school and all donated sweet pastries or pizza, so there was a lot of food!

Typically the traditional Le Marche dolci di carnevale are fried morsels such as balls of castagnole, ribbon like strips of sfrappe and one of my favourites, ravioli di castagne. The latter are ricotta and chestnut filled sweet ravioli – yum!

 Arancini or orange sugared pinwheels are typical to Le Marche and maybe difficult to find in other regions of Italy and will also be normally fried. I was looking for a recipe I could bake in an oven and thus make a marginally healthier dolci di carnevale. I came across a recipe for Arancini from a food blogger, Emiko Davies who lives in Tuscany. As my lemon tree is heaving with luscious lemons I decided to adapt the recipe to create my own version of a Le Marche Dolci di Carnevale – Limoncini or Lemon pinwheels with the addition of lots of fresh lemon zest!

It’s an easy and satisfying recipe and can be enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee. They also look amazing!

The recipe makes a large amount so I froze half of the lemon pinwheels at the just before baking stage, laid flat on a baking tin. I plan to remove from the freezer at the weekend and directly bake in a fairly hot oven.

Italian Food and Flavours

Lemon Pinwheels : Dolci di Carnevale

Lemon Pinwheels : Dolci di Carnevale/Limoncini


250ml tepid milk

1 sachet (7g) dried yeast

600g 00 flour

50g sugar to add to flour

2 eggs

200g sugar for lemon filling

50g butter

3 organic lemons – zest and a few tablespoons of juice.


Gently heat the milk and stir in the yeast

Place the flour and the 50g of sugar in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.

Pour in the milk/yeast,  the melted butter and the eggs

Mix with a spoon then bring together with your hands to form a ball of dough.

Knead for a few minutes until smooth. Place back in bowl, cover with cling film and leave somewhere warmish to rise to about double the original size, for between 1 – 2 hours

Meanwhile finely zest the lemons and mix into the 200g of sugar. Set aside.

Once risen roll out the dough to about 50mm thickness and into a large rectangle.

Scatter and spread the lemony sugar equally over the dough.

Brush around the edges with water, then carefully roll into a long sausage shape. Keep the roll as tight as possible.

With a sharp knife slice the roll into approx 1 cm slices, and carefully lie them down on a baking tin covered with baking paper.

Drizzle on some lemon juice and allow to rest for half an hour.

Finally bake at 180 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Flip them over half way through.

Eat warm or cold with a dusting of icing sugar and maybe a drizzle of honey or in my daughters case golden syrup!

Here’s the recipe I adapted from Food 52


Delicious and attractive Lemon Pinwheels : Le marche Dolci di Carnevale made with my own, homegrown, Italian Lemons

Italian Food and Flavours