Zeppole – Italian Style Donut
The Zeppole takes me back a few decades. As a matter of fact, I remember several different relatives making these gorgeous, fluffy balls of fried dough whenever family came together. While the methods and ingredients amongst the cooks were different, the taste were surprisingly and on the positive side, all delicious. Generally speaking, some of the cooks rolled their Zeppole in cinnamon sugar, some were drizzled with chocolate, some were surprisingly made with potatoes, while others were simply flour, water and yeast. Despite the many variations in ingredients and methods, they were all surprisingly very good.
A Mother’s Recipe
Mum shared this fabulous recipe with me, so it goes without saying that I must share this with you too. Although I’d added a little something different. I’ve sweetened these babies by generously drizzling them with honey and sprinkling with pistachio nuts, unlike the traditional zeppole that are coated in cinnamon sugar. No idea why. 🤔 Just thought I would experiment a little. I’m glad I did!👌
Some days I find myself reminiscing of the good ol’ days and usually those good ol’ days are centred around food. It goes without saying that food in my family was a ritual. It was all about coming together to enjoy the pleasures of food and connecting with one another, of course! We connected and at the same time, we built memories over beautiful tasting food. And I’ll tell you what, these donuts were and still are worthy of the calories. Which donut isn’t right?
I know I say this a lot in my blog posts and I’m about to repeat it again for like the 100th time I’m sure 😁 however this recipe really is a simple one to make! Honestly, I don’t do complicated and so when you see just how simple the steps are, you’ll know what I mean.
Combine the sugar, salt and yeast into a bowl.
Add the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes. The yeast will start to proof and froth up.
In seperate bowl, add the flour and olive oil. After the 5 minutes is up, whisk with a fork and add the yeast mixture to the flour and oil. Mix well and place in a bowl greased with olive oil and wrap the bowl in cling wrap.
Like bread, dough with yeast needs to grow in size and it does that best in a warm environment and away from any draft.
To ensure that the yeast grows in size, I then cover the cling wrapped bowl with the blanket and pop it in a warm place.
This may seem a little odd but I have found that placing the blanketed bowl into an oven (turned off of course) to sit for 2-3 hours is the best environment for the dough to grow. The oven acts as an incubation for the dough where there is very little or no air circulating.
This is what the dough looks like once it’s had some rest to rise. Actually it’s a little different to bread or pizza dough. It’s a little stickier to handle so I find scooping a tablespoon of dough into the hot oil is the easiest way to handle it.
First thing to remember is that the oil needs to be quite hot before you can begin frying. Test that the dough is hot enough, roll a tiny piece of dough and place into the oil. If it begins to sizzle and the dough floats, then you’re good to go.
Fry the dough for 2 minutes then turn over so both sides cook well. Once cooked, place on paper towels to drain then place on a serving plate.
Drizzle with honest and crushed pistachios and eat them while they’re HOT, HOT HOT.♨
The centre of the Zeppole is light, fluffy and therefore beyond YUM!
This recipe was tested 3 times just to ensure that it was full-proof. Mind you I had to taste test each and every batch. Boy Life’s tough! But on the positive side, I got to enjoy eating these 3 times. It goes without saying that the sacrifice was positively worth it!
In the meantime, I’ll grab another Zeppole just to ensure their good enough for you to make.
Be sure to snap a photo and use the hashtag #SUNDAYCALM. I’d love to see it!
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 sachet dried yeast 7g (approx. 2 teaspoons)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups plain flour (all purpose)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- vegetable oil for frying
- 2-3 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup pistachio
Place the yeast, sugar and salt to the warm water. Allow to for approx. 5 minutes until the yeast froths up. Stir to dissolve the yeast.
In a large bowl place the flour, yeast and olive oil together. Stir this with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms. Place the dough into a bowl that has been brushed with olive oil. Cover with cling wrap, wrap in a blanket or tea towels and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
In a deep saucepan, add the vegetable oil to approx. 10 cm in depth. To test that the oil is ready for frying, drop a small piece of the dough into the oil. Once it begins to sizzle and float to the top, you can begin to fry the dough.
Use one tablespoons to scoop out the dough into as round a shape as possible and use another spoon t help slide the dough into the hot oil.
Do not overcrowd the saucepan. 4 zeppole at a time should be enough. Cook until each zeppole is golden brown and puffy. Turn with a slotted spoon to ensure that the dough is cooked evenly all around.
Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove from the oil and place onto a plate lined with paper towels.
Once all dough has been fried and drained, place onto a serving dish, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with pistachio nuts.