It is well known that all cultures around the world have similarities. Such is the case of the quintessential doughnut.
Fried dough is and will always be a delight. The shape and style of preparation vary by country and even by region. In New Orleans for instance, we have the Beignets, in France, Pate a Coux, Churros in Spain and Mexico, Sfenj in North Africa, Jalebi in South Asia, Buñuelos in Colombia and Balushahi in India just to mention a few nicknames of this versatile dessert.
One of the variations of the doughnut in Italy is the Zeppole which are traditionally consumed during the Festa di San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph’s Day) celebrated every March 19. Its preparation is basically deep-frying a dough ball and top it off with powdered sugar, and may be filled with custard, jelly, cannoli-style pastry cream or a butter-and-honey mixture. I have seen them also coated with cinnamon sugar (version that I personally prefer).
As with any dish, the Zeppole has many different variations. This one in particular, resembles doughnut holes. They are super easy to make and you can make them as big or as small as you want.
- 1⅓ cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- 1 packet Instant Dry Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 cup Water
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Oil for frying
- 3 tablespoons Confectioner's Sugar (optional)
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar (optional)
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon (optional)
- Combine flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, yeast, baking powder and salt in a large bowl
- Mix water and vanilla extract together, add to flour mixture and stir to combine
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest until it has doubled in size (about 20 min)
- Heat the oil to 350 degrees F. Spoon the batter into the oil and fry in batches for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown flipping half way through frying
- Transfer zeppoles to paper towels to absorb excess oil
- Dust with confectioner's sugar or with cinnamon sugar and enjoy!
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