Creative Cooking Italian Recipe
Tiffany's Zeppole Recipe (makes 35 zeppoles)
2 quarts (4 liquid cups) of vegetable oil
A deep-fryer, or if you're like me and don't have one, a small saucepan and a thermometer.
Heat the oil in the fryer/saucepan to 375 degrees F (or 190 degrees C). If you are going to use a saucepan, this will require some fiddling with the stovetop temperature.
Next gather your dry ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar (for dusting)
Place them all EXCEPT the confectioner's sugar, in a medium saucepan and stir to combine. Measure the confectioner's sugar into a separate bowl and place it to the side for now.
1 cup ricotta cheese
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
The oil will take a while to heat up, so do not do the next step until you are ready to fry. If the oil is already hot, add the wet ingredients to the saucepan with the dry ingredients. Over low heat, gently mix the ingredients until combined. The resulting dough will be sticky, that's ok!
Step 5: Draining
When they're fried, drain the oil from the zeppoles on paper towels
Step 6: Dusting
Place the zeppoles in the confectioner's sugar and roll them until covered with the desired amount
Step 7 (the most important)
1. In Step 1, if you are heating the oil in a saucepan, do not crank the stove to high, as that will cause the oil to overheat and be unusable until it has cooled.
2. Also in Step 1, the oil doesn't even need to be up to 375 degrees, I found that the zeppoles fried better when the oil was at 310 degrees F (154 degrees C).
3. In Step 3, do not add your wet ingredients to your dry until the oil has heated! I didn't do that, and I noticed that while waiting for the oil to heat, the dough deflated a bit, and I think that made the zeppoles less puffy than desired.
4. The dough is pretty bland, so added vanilla (just a little!) will give a sweeter result, or another pinch will give a saltier result.
5. In Step 4, I changed the zeppole size to HALF a tablesoon, because they puffed up as they fried and because the larger dough balls did not cook properly (even after the outsides were golden brown, the insides were still raw).
6. In Step 6, if you do not like a lot of confectioner's sugar, measure the sugar into a sifter and dust the zeppoles that way.