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Mar 9, 2009 05:19 AM

Zeppole - Recipe wanted

Was wondering if anyone had a great recipe for Zeppole.

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  1. You will find that there are all kinds of fancy recipes for zeppole. However, zeppole are traditionally made with a very simple yeast bread dough or even a pizza dough. In either case, the dough should be made with AP flour and not bread flour. The secret to zeppole is in the frying. In my family, my gradmother would make a savory zeppola with anchovies in addition to the the one with sugar.

    1. Search for recipes, for both zeppole di San Giuseppe, the sweet version filled with pastry cream for St. Joseph's day--che si festeggia oggi--auguri!--and the simpler savory versions served as a Christmas speciality. The latter can be either a straight all flour risen bread dough or one made with half flour and half boiled and riced potatoes. Forms: a ring of dough fried, or a small ball stuffed with a bit of anchovy, my favorite, and even better the next day. If you google "ricette zippuli' [the Calabrese term] you'll find many recipes and photos form Italian bloggers and sites.

      1. I always knew them as pizza dough, pinched off and fried, and tossed with confectioners sugar. Just something to do with leftover dough, really.

        1. Emailed my sister for our family recipe (I'm the bag-girl in this equation, I shake the fresh zepp's in a brown paper bag full of powdered sugar and dump them on the platter..)
          I've not made the dough myself (now that Mom is gone, it's my oldest sisters job!) but I'm certain that our dough is lightly sweetened with sugar, and the dough is made by slowly adding hot water to the slew - but we'll find out once I get a reply!
          The ones we make are powdered sugar, but often Mom would do some covered in honey as well. They don't keep well, but you still have to fry up tons because everyone eats them...

          1. Actually, there are zeppole, which are fried dough, and Zeppole di San Giuseppe, which are a kind of doughnut that is made for St. Joseph's day, which is coming up. WHich kind of Zeppole are you looking for? I had assumed the fried dough previously

            10 Replies
            1. re: roxlet

              I'm looking for the fried version. My grandmother used to make them but my mom never learned how. I thought I would bring back the tradition.

              1. re: breadandcoffee

                Mine did as well, and my Mom, and a few Aunts... and now my sister. We say 'ZAPE-LA' but that doesn't matter. They are a lightly sweet dough, which is pulled off hunks dropped into hot oil. My guess is it's the same dough used at Easter for "strew-fla" - or Honey Balls- tiny, delicious fried dough balls, covered in honey and bright colored candy sprinkles (the round kind). Won't know until my sister writes me back!
                My personal favorite is the zeppole- covered in powdered sugar and I want mine with a big mug of coffee.

                1. re: Boccone Dolce

                  Struffoli are made with what is essentially pasta dough made with flour and eggs. Zeppole are made with a yeast dough. Neither is a sweet dough, and in both cases, the sweetner comes from the topping.


                  1 package yeast
                  1 cup of water
                  1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
                  Oil for frying
                  Confectioner's sugar
                  Dissolve yeast in 1/2 C warm water with a pinch of sugar
                  Set aside for 10 minutes to proof
                  Stir remaining 1/2 C water in bowl, and beat in the flour forming a soft dough.
                  Knead the dough for about 10 minutes by hand and 5 minutes in a mixer with a dough hook.
                  Put the dough in greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover and let rise intil doubled, about 1-11/2 hours.
                  Heat abut 2-3 inches of oil to 375 degrees
                  Break off golf ball-sized of pieces of dough and fry until light golden brown
                  Drain on brown paper or paper towels, and dredge with confectioner's sugar. Eat warm.

                  1. re: roxlet

                    Sounds delicious. You might just try leaving a few of them savory, having stuffed a small bit of anchovy into the dough before frying. The other Calabrian version calls for equal measures of flour and boiled, cooled, riced potatoes, with a bit of salt, and the same yeast starter. Here, 4 cups of flour and a pound of floury potatoes should be a starting measure; use at least one cake of yeast, proofed, and enough additional water to make a relatively soft dough. Roll out small logs, form into circles, and fry in lots of 375 degree oil. Sugar not typical. Great on day 2. Buona festa.

                    1. re: bob96

                      You're right about the savory zeppole. Th grandmother always stuffed a few with anchovies. She also would punch a hole into the dough before dropping it into the oil, which I suppose would help the zeppole cook more evenly. I don't know about the Calabrian version, never having had them!

                  2. re: Boccone Dolce

                    They can't be the same dough. I remember my grandmother using a very soft, sticky dough for the lightest of zeppoli, which she fried and tossed with powdered sugar. Strufoli required rolling and cutting, and were firmer than zeppoli when fried.

                    My only recollection was that she used yeast and milk for the zeppoli, and did not use either for strufoli.

                    1. re: Boccone Dolce

                      The women in my family that made struffoli made two different kinds - one was a heavy version, and the other was light as air. Since my grandmother wasn't one of the makers, I never learned how, but I do know neither was the same as the zeppole dough. We also didn't have struffoli for easter, but for christmas. I've never seen them at easter.

                      1. re: irishnyc

                        Not Easter? I feel like all the holidays are blending and my memory is mishmashed. Well.......
                        Here's some struffoli we bought in Brooklyn one year when no one was around to make it. Makes me happy just to look at it.

                          1. re: Boccone Dolce

                            I associate them with Christmas, because I remember them being piled up like a christmas tree. I could be wrong. I haven't had them in ages. Damn me not living in an Italian nabe anymore.