When most people hear the word arancini, they think of Sicily's famous rice balls stuffed with meat ragu, crumbed, and deep fried. Less known are these special pastries from central Italy's Le Marche region. Both specialties get their name from arancia, Italian for orange; the former because of their round shape and golden color, the latter because of the intensely perfumed orange sugar that's rolled inside the sweet dough of these pastries.
They are made especially during Carnival season (Carnevale in Italian), a special time typically in February that includes an indulgent, lavish, and festive period of eating before the fasting period of Lent, which leads up to Easter. The ancient Christian tradition almost always includes rich (and usually fried) sweets. Intrigued? Click below for instructions on how to make your own.