Traditionally from Italy, crispy on the outside and super soft on the inside, these little rustic donuts are a real crowd pleaser.
In my country we call these crispy fried donuts by a different name but overall most European countries have a very similar (or sometimes even exactly the same) version of a donut. Whether you form them into bite size pieces such as these here or decide to give them a round shape with a hole in the middle, they all taste very similarly delicious. You start off with a pâte levee, or Germteig as we call it in Austria, which consists of 6 main ingredients flour, eggs, sugar, butter, milk and yeast.
The flour is the only main ingredient which gets its own bowl while the other ingredients are combined over the stove top and then added to the flour while they are slightly warm. A fair warning- as you combine the ingredients together, a wonderful scent will float through your home. The scent of slightly warm yeast dough. Yum!
A sweet yeast dough is probably my favorite dough to work with, not only because of the scent but also because of the many delicious things you can make from it. And while I could have made a healthier version, and eg made some baked donuts in the oven, I decided to go all out. While frying food is a little out of my comfort zone (it literally hurts me to throw away the oil at the end, it’s quite a waste after all) I wanted to make something special as I was visiting my grandmother. Speaking of grandmother, do you also have a grandmother who is awesome at cooking/baking and teaches you old traditional recipes? It seems as though most people have a grandma like that and we all cherish these recipes the most.
She taught me how to make Zeppole among other recipes…most of them being quite unhealthy since she doesn’t believe in calories. I think that is also another ‘grandma thing’. 🙂
On a completely different note, I would like to apologise to my readers for my very long break from blogging. I have had a very painful double-sided tendon infection for the past couple of months, which kept me from typing and being able to hold my camera. I am very happy to be back though and hope you can forgive the long break.
But back to the Zeppole because there is one last thing I need to tell you: The best way to eat them: Sprinkled with powdered sugar and dipped into fruit puree or jam! (I prefer apricot here.) You can also drizzle them with honey or even fill them with a cream, such as mascarpone. The options are endless, either way these are a tasty dessert!
P.S It is best to eat these fresh, on the same day. You can make the dough a day ahead and store it in the fridge or you can also freeze the fried Zeppole (up to 3 months) once they have cooled.
- 1 fresh yeast
- 80g white granulated sugar (1/4 cup)
- 600g flour (5 cups)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 120g butter (1/2 cup)
- 6 egg yolks
- 250ml milk, or more if needed* (1 cup)
- 2 tablespoons rum
- oil for frying
- powdered sugar or other toppings
- In a small bowl combine the yeast and 2 teaspoons of the granulated sugar. Let it sit until it dissolves.
- In the meantime combine the flour and salt in a large bowl.
- In a medium saucepan using low heat, melt the butter. Once the butter has melted, add in the egg yolks, the rest of the granulated sugar, and milk and whisk until smooth. Leave it on the stovetop until it is slightly warm. Then remove from the heat and add in the dissolved yeast and rum.
- Pour the mixture into the flour and combine until you have a smooth dough. If the dough is too dry, add more milk.*
- Place a lid on top of the bowl and let the dough rise on your kitchen counter for 1 hour.
- Heat oil in a saucepan**. Once hot, add in a teaspoon of dough and fry until golden brown. This should take about 1 minute. Flip it once for even browning.
- (You will need to exchange the oil 2-3 times if you fry the whole batch at once.)
- Place the fried Zeppole onto a plate fitted with a paper towl to soak up any excess oil.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar and add toppings of your choice.
- *Depending on what typ of flour you use you may need more milk
- **In order to save oil, use a small/high saucepan