Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Zeppole - Ricotta Donuts

Zeppole are one of those much loved traditional sweets that seems to have as many variations as there are Italian nonnas. You'll find the arguments begin in how the dough should be made - there are versions that use a choux type batter,  others that use yeast or baking powder, some add ricotta for lightness - and once you've made the batter, do you leave it plain, add candied fruits or fill the cooked zeppole with crema pasticcera?

I've previously made the "choux" type called Sfinci so this time I'm making the ricotta based version. There is one thing that every version agrees on - that you toss them liberally in icing sugar. Well, I've decided to take a different approach and used powdered raspberries instead.

zeppoleĀ© by Haalo

Zeppole - Ricotta Donuts

50 grams plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
20 grams icing sugar
120 grams ricotta
1 egg
powdered raspberry, for dusting

Note on ricotta:
It's best to use a good traditional ricotta that is quite firm - supermarket versions tend to be very soft, you'll have to drain it to remove the extra moisture of the batter will be too slack.

Make the batter:
Sift the flour, baking powder and icing sugar together into a bowl.

In another bowl, mix together the ricotta and egg - beat until smooth. Pour this into the flour and stir until combined - the mix should be fairly thick.

To get nice round zeppole - use an ice cream scoop - for these bite sized versions I've used a 2 teaspoon capacity ice-scream scoop.

Cook the zeppole:
There's no way around this, these are deep fried but don't let the free of deep frying put you off making them.

As I've mentioned in various posts, I deep fry using a small saucepan which immediately decreases the amount of oil you are working with - I probably work with less than a cup of oil.

Bring the oil slowly up to the correct temperature - check it by drizzling in a few drops of batter - it should sizzle and float - if it sinks or doesn't sizzle, the oil isn't hot enough.

When it's at the right temperature, use the scoop to form a ball of dough and carefully ease it into the oil. Only cook three or four at a time as they will puff up a little and give them gentle nudges to turn them around so they are evenly browned. For these small ones, you'll want to cook them for at least a minute.

Remove the cooked zeppole to paper towels to remove any excess oil and then toss in the powdered raspberries while they are still warm.

These are best served as soon as they are made.

In case you're wondering, this is what powdered raspberry looks like:

powdered raspberriesĀ© by Haalo

It's made from dehydrated raspberries that are crushed to form a powder. It's has an amazingly pure fragrance and intense raspberry flavour. For me, it's just a lot more interesting to plain old icing sugar and looks good on the finished product.


  1. These look fantastic and is there a special invisible cooking feeling going across oceans and seas? :-)
    I spent the whole morning with some friends making typical Italian seasonal sweet fries :-) and some like yours but named "fritole" :-)

  2. It's funny how often that happens - I wonder if you can send me some fritole :)

  3. I like your idea of using raspberry powder!


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