February 13, 2013

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!


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