Monday, April 25, 2011

Eating with Liz 2011 - Zeppole

This week we are making Zeppole. What are those you ask? Well, they're unsweetened doughnuts that are deep fried and then doused in powdered sugar. Sound good? Well, they are. I first has Zeppole's at New York Pizzeria when John and I stopped there for dinner before a movie. Our pizza took all of our time we had for dinner, but I wanted dessert so I opted to order and whatever I got would have to be snuck into the theater. I opted for the Zeppoles "Our special dough fried, then drenched in your choice of powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar and served to you in a paper bag." I thought that sounded handy so that's what we got. I walked into the theater with greasy paper bag in hand and not one looked twice. I don't know why I'm so paranoid of sneaking stuff into the theater in all my years I've never been called out on it... Anyway - This greasy paper bag was full  of little doughnuts swimming in powdered sugar. Nom Nom Nom. It was hard not to eat them all before the movie ever started. I fell in love with these little treats, but unfortunately we haven't been back to NY Pizzeria to get more (or try the other desserts.) The other night I wanted something good. I thought about making Chocolate Chip Cookies but once I had the bowl attached to the Kitchenaid, I decided that I wanted doughnuts. I pulled out my handy "Grandma Mac doughnut" recipe, but that makes a HUGE batch of dough, and I didn't need that many. Then I remembered the Zeppole and googled a recipe. I'm so glad I did. Even my often unseen sister came over to have some.
1¾ cups    Flour
½ tsp         Salt
1 cup         Warm tap water, about 105 degrees
2½ tsp       Yeast
4 cups        Oil (good oils for deep frying include canola, grapeseed, peanut and safflower.)
Powdered Sugar, Regular Sugar, or Cinnamon Sugar 
Mix flour and salt together and set aside. dough for fritters before proofing
Pour water into a medium bowl and whisk in the yeast. Let sit for a moment to allow the yeast to activate. Once the yeast/water is bubbly, stir in the salted flour with a rubber spatula until you have a rather wet dough.
Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let dough rise at room temperature for about an hour, or until ready for fryingdough is double in size and very puffy. 
Heat oil to 375 degrees F., and line a cookie sheet with paper towels or brown paper for draining.
Dip a tablespoon into the hot oil, then quickly use it to spoon up some of the risen dough. Use another spoon to scrape the dough off into the hot oil. delicious zeppole
Fry two or three fritters at a time keep them from burning. Fry until they are a deep golden color. Drain on prepared pan.
Dust generously with confectioners' sugar before serving.
Makes about 24
We ate all but three that night, and I finished off the rest the next morning. These are yummy little things and you can make them as big or small as you want. I think next time I'll make mine a little smaller.
I fried them in vegetable oil, because that's what I had in the house. It worked just fine, but it has a very low smoking point. by the time I was done with my batch of zeppole my entire house smelled like burnt vegetable oil and I even set off the fire alarm.
Like I stated above in the recipe, good oils for deep frying include canola, grapeseed, peanut and safflower. I usually use canola, but I bought a bottle of peanut oil to try with my deep fried scones I asked for for mother's day.

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