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Panzerotti /Tortelli di Castagne & Cioccolato (Chestnut & chocolate filled morsels)

When I think of chestnuts, I reminisce about my birth town - Domodossola, where I was first introduced to this distinctive flavoured nut.  We were fortunate to live close to Sacro Monte Calvario, a mountain lined with chestnut trees. My mother cooked many dishes which used this flavorsome nut, especially sweets such as these panzerotti di castagne & cioccolato.  With this sweet mamma has more recently substituted the chestnut filling with chickpeas as they are readily available all year round and knowing that my papa`enjoys this sweet made frequently.

Chestnut season is a favourite for our whole family and we are of the belief that if you've never had a freshly roasted chestnut you haven't lived. We often visit Daylesford in country Victoria around autumn to purchase them fresh and enjoy them roasted at the farmers markets.

This recipe is a variation of panzerotti / tortelli di ceci which I have shared previously with you.  The filling is more delicate in texture and lighter than that of the chickpea.  I brought over a plate of these delicious morsels to my parents straight after I made them and naturally they loved them.  It brought back many lovely memories of Domodossola.

Panzerotti /Tortelli di Castagne & Cioccolato 

Recipe makes approximately 30 panzerotti


350g cooked chestnuts
1/2 cup of caster sugar
4 tblsp cocoa powder
Half a small glass of vin cotto (or more!)
Shot of brandy or favourite liqueur

500g plain flour
2 tblsp vegetable oil
15 g caster sugar
1 egg
3 tblsp brandy or white wine
pinch of salt 
Extra vegetable oil for shallow frying

Make an incision in the chestnuts and place in a pot with cold water. Bring to the boil and allow to cook for about half an hour or until the interior of the chestnut is cooked. Cooking time will vary and dependent upon the size of the chestnut. You therefore need to cut one open to check if it is cooked and crumbly. 

Once cooked, drain and allow to cool enough to handle. Cut each chestnut in half and scoop out the flesh with a teaspoon into a bowl. It will crumble out of the shell quite easily.

Place the crumbled chestnuts, cocoa powder, sugar, vin cotto and brandy in a food processor and pulse until combined.  You may need to add more liqueur or some water to allow the mixture to come together as seen below.

Prepare the pastry as you would make fresh pasta.  Create a flour well and add the beaten egg, pinch of salt, sugar, vegetable oil and brandy in the centre. Slowly bring the flour to the centre with your finger tips and mix until all combined.  If the mixture is too dry, add more brandy and knead until smooth. Allow the pastry to rest for a while.  

I use the pasta machine to roll the pastry like lasagnae sheets 2 mm in thickness.

Fill with the chestnut puree using a teaspoon (try to get two morsels worth), fold the pastry over and cut into half circle shapes using a rotary cutter. Press the edges firmly using a fork.

Shallow fry using vegetable oil until a light golden brown. Some of them may burst open, hence the name panzerotti (broken / burst tummies). Place on kitchen paper to soak excess oil and coat with castor sugar.



  1. I love the look of these Carmen. I am not a huge chestnut fan but adding the cocoa and liqueur sounds just delightful.

  2. Thank you Paola, we have also made them with just the vin cotto and chocolate, but the liqueur takes them to another level. xx

  3. These panzerotti look wonderful Carmen and I look forward to making them come late October when chestnuts are in season here. Hope to make it to Sacro Monte Calvario finally too!

  4. Oh Rosemary I do hope you visit Sacro Monte Calvario, and if you go around chestnut season, you will find them scattered around the path as you walk up...a special place. I think you will also enjoy these panzarotti. Xx


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