fried dough pastries
Not to be confused with gnocchi!
The very airy dough is made with lard and brewers' yeast. Cut in squares or diamonds, it puffs up when deep fried, and is then filled with meat and cheese as a sandwich, or else fruit jam or chocolate as a dessert. Around Emilia-Romagna you may hear them called burtleine, torta fritta, chisulén, chizze or even crescentine.
They also make them in Lombardy: Pizzale in Pavia province holds a Serata del Gnocco Fritto in June.
Something very similar is the Ligurian-Tuscan sgabei.