Zeppole, the Donuts! Not zeppole, the pastries filled with a sweet cream!
These little, spongy, light puffy balls have a sweet dough. They may or may not have ricotta in the recipe. I prefer the RICOTTA ones! I think ricotta makes them softer inside. They are quickly fried in oil, then dusted with confectioner’s sugar.
Zeppole populate behind the glass counters in pizza parlors everywhere here on Long Island and in all the boroughs of New York City. They are NOT just fried pizza dough! The sweet, ricotta dough makes zeppole dough a far cry from pizza dough! People just love these!
Zeppole means “fritters” in Italian. One is zeppola. But in my neck of the woods we go to the pizza store and say, “I’ll take a dozen zeppoleeez” ! LOL No one I know orders 1 zeppola! ha-ha!
Near Naples, sitting by the beautiful waterfront, I had a delicious zeppola, but it was in the shape of a donut with a hole in the middle and sprinkled with granulated sugar. In New York, you will find zeppole like these little balls, crunchy on the outside with a wonderful fluffy, spongy interior!
It’s hard to have just one! Kids love these and they are very easy to make at home!
See my short, fast speed VIDEO below on how easy it is to make Zeppole, the Italian donut, the way I know them!
- Deep Fryer (optional)
- 2 quarts oil canola or vegetable oil for the deep fryer
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 package yeast Rapid Rise Instant Yeast (or 1 tablespoon of baking powder)
- 1 cup confectioner's sugar sifted, for sprinkling
- Preheat a deep fryer to 375°. Or you can use a large saucepot on the stovetop.
- Place paper towels on a large tray or cookie sheet.
- With a mixer on medium speed, mix together the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract.
- Add the ricotta cheese, mix well.
- On lowest speed, mix in the all-purpose flour and the yeast to form a soft dough.
- Carefully and slowly drop a spoonful (about 1½ tablespoons) into the oil. Use another spoon to scrape it into the oil. I use a scant ice cream scoopful of dough.
- Cook the zeppole about 2 minutes, until they are a medium brown color. Cut or taste just one first, to make sure they are cooked in the middle with the size you are making. If you make them too big, you will need to cook them longer, maybe 3-4 minutes.
- Drain the zeppole on the paper towels. Dust immediately with confectioner's sugar.
- Store zeppole covered on top of the counter.