Zeppole: Italy’s doughnuts
Although doughnuts aren’t typical of Italy, a delicious equivalent is zeppole – a species of ring-shaped doughnut often found on street stalls in the south. Whilst there are many variations (including sweet custard fillings, ricotta with chocolate bits, butter & honey mix, jelly) our favourite is the simplest version: topped with cinnamon sugar.
1 cup plain flour
2 tsp baking flour
Pinch of sea salt
1 ½ tbs sugar, plus ½ cup for coating
2 free range eggs
1 cup whole-milk ricotta
½ tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Ex v olive oil
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Combine the flour, baking powder, salt & 1 ½ tbsp. of the sugar in a bowl & gently combine with a fork
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, then beat in the ricotta, lemon zest and vanilla. Fold the flour mix into the egg-ricotta mixture.
Put 1 ½ – 2 inches of oil in a deep frying pan. Set over medium heat & get the oil to 360 F (a small bit of bread with brown in about 1 min).
When the oil is hot enough, drop 4 tablespoons of the batter into the hot oil. NB don’t fry anymore than 4 at a time to prevent the temperature from dropping.
The zeppole will quickly brown & rise to the surface of the oil, though you may need to give them a nudge. As they fry, try to gently pierce each one with a skewer to make them crisper.
Cook the zeppole until they are a deep nut-brown, then remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a rack to drain & cool slightly (make sure you have some kitchen roll underneath!)
When all the zeppole are done, combine the cinnamon with ½ cup of sugar in a bowl. Roll each one in cinnamon sugar (normal sugar if you prefer) and place in a bowl for serving. Buon appetito!