San Giuseppe and the zeppole

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Venti-Zeppole-215 of March 019My father-in-law is Joseph, my brother in-law is Joseph, my husband’s uncle is Joseph and his grandpa was Joseph too so what can I say? When Joseph’s day is coming we celebrate it thousand times. But I didn’t know the fact that San Giuseppe’s day is also a great feast in Italy. For instance in Sicily on 19th of March it is tradition to fry the leftover bits of pizza dough from dinner, toss them in confectioners’ sugar, and then the so called Zeppole is ready for the feast. This choux pastry is also very popular in USA specially among italo-american people. These days, the best version of the zeppole is available in New York at Colicchio & Sons which is a lighter but still traditional ricotta-based rendition.

What is Zeppole?

It is a typical delicacy in Rome and Naples. They are also served in Sicily, Sardinia and on the island of Malta. From start to finish, the whole process takes less than half an hour. When fried to perfection, the zeppole should be golden-brown on the outside, still a little doughy on the inside, and greasy enough to hold confectioner’s sugar like glue.

Ingredients: 1 cup whole-milk ricotta, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 large eggs, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, pinch of salt, vegetable oil, for frying, ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar

Method:

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the ricotta, vanilla, and eggs on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light in color and smooth. Transfer the ricotta mixture to a large saucepan set over medium-high heat. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the ricotta mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon to form a dough. Reduce the heat to medium and cook some of the moisture out of the dough, stirring it continually to prevent burning, 2 to 3 minutes or until a thin film forms on the bottom of the pan. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and refrigerate for about 20 minutes. Heat at least 2 inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed pot fitted with a deep-fry thermometer until the oil reaches 350°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with paper towels. Using a ¾-ounce (1¼ inches in diameter) ice cream scoop, gently drop balls of batter into the oil, taking care not to crowd the pot. Fry for about 2 minutes, until light golden. The balls tend to bob in the oil and rotate on their own, but it doesn’t hurt to nudge here and there so that they cook evenly on all sides. Drain on the paper-towel–lined baking sheet. Toss them in the confectioners’ sugar and serve them immediately.

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