Zeppole is the name Italians use for a pinched piece of deep-fried dough showered in confectioner's sugar. I became addicted to these yummy delights back in the New York area during the many Italian street fairs that were held during the year. I don't know why I can enjoy a food like this so much and yet years will pass before I get the idea that...maybe...just maybe...I could make it myself!
Way too many years have passed since my last Italian street fair, but today is the day the I tried making them for myself. First I discovered that there are probably as many recipes for this dish as there are Italians. That did not dissuade me. I read and read and zeroed in on one that 'sounded' right and went at it with wild abandon.
Here are the results:
Here is the recipe:
(I have cut the original in half..this will probably serve 4 people easily)
1/2 a stick of sweet butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup flour
oil for frying
in a medium sauce pan combine the butter, salt, sugar and water over a medium heat. Bring to a boil. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Return the pan to the heat and stir continuously until mixture forms a ball, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the flour mixture to a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer on LOW speed add the eggs, 1 at a time incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. Beat until smooth. The dough will change dramatically when you add the second egg. At this point, if you are not frying it, you may cover tightly and refrigerate it.
If you are frying it...then pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over a medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F. I used a teaspoon about 1/2 filled with dough and pushed it into the oil with another spoon; you may use a small ice cream scoop but the amount of dough should not exceed the end of your thumbnail. They will float almost immediately, they are done when they are golden brown. Drain on paper towels and attack them with confectioner's sugar. Indulge!
The finished product was incredibly light and crunchy. They could also be filled with a pastry cream and drizzled with chocolate or raspberry sauce...but THAT is for another time.
Oh, if you are a coffee drinker...NOW is the time!