Happy St. Joseph's Day! Just because I want everyone to know how impressed I am with myself, I will have you know that I actually wrote this post a day early! It has been a long time since I have been ahead of the game for...well, anything, really. Although, since I promised a recipe for Rhode Island style Zeppole last year but never came through, I guess I shouldn't brag too much.
If you can remember back that far (I barely can), two years ago I made this recipe for Zeppole that were almost like small fried doughnuts with powdered sugar on top. They are delicious, but they aren't the Zeppole that I grew up eating in Rhode Island. My zeppole were fried pastry filled with custard and topped with a cherry. That is the version that I tackled this year, and I must say, it was much less difficult than I had anticipated. Usually these are topped with a cherry, but I had some raspberries, so I went with that instead.
Between these two versions of Zeppole, I think I will always choose the custard filled ones. How about you? Which kind of Zeppole did you grow up eating?
Rhode Island Style Zeppole
Makes 16 zeppole
Adapted from Giallo Zafferano
For the custard:
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
Zest from 1/2 a lime
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the dough:
1 cup water
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup and 3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
Zest from 1/2 a lime
Oil for frying
- Start by making the custard. In a bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar until well incorporated. Add the flour, lime zest and just enough milk to work everything together. Set aside.
- In a small saucebowl, add the remaining milk and the vanilla. Heat until just before the milk starts to boil. Turn off the heat and let the milk cool for 10 minutes.
- Add the milk to the flour mixture and stir well to combine. Return this custard mixture to the saucepan and put over low heat to thicken. This will take about 10-12 minutes. Stir continuously with a whisk to make sure lumps do not form.
- Once thickened, pour the custard into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set in the refrigerator to cool completely.
- To make the dough, add the water and butter to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted and the water is just starting to boil, turn off the heat.
- Add the flour and stir until well incorporated and the dough forms a ball, pulling away from the sides of the pot. Return to low heat for about 2 minutes to let the dough dry slightly.
- Put the dough in a bowl and let cool. Once cool, stir in the sugar, salt, and lime zest. I found using a whisk makes stirring easier and more even.
- Add the eggs to the dough one at a time, stirring each egg in completely before adding the next.
- Prepare to fry the dough by cutting 3 by 3 inch squares out of your parchment paper. Line the squares up on a baking sheet. Put the dough in a pastry bag with a star tip. Starting at the center of one of the parchment squares and working your way out, pipe the dough into circles about 2 inches in diameter and then pipe a ring on top of the circle to create a bowl (check out Giallo Zafferano for a great visual example). Continue with the rest of the dough.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy pot to medium-high heat. Once hot, drop the zeppole on its paper into the oil in batches of 2 or 3 depending on the size of your pot. The paper will slide right off in the oil. Cook the zeppole just until golden brown and remove to paper towels to drain excess oil. Repeat with remaining zeppole.
- Once all zeppole are fried and cooled, pipe the custard into the hollow center of each zeppole, allowing some to spill over the top. Top with a raspberry (or cherry if you're going the traditional route) and a dusting of powdered sugar. Keep refrigerated until they are eaten.
Ryan's rating of Rhode Island Style Zeppole - 5. This was definitely a hit, with both Ryan and Dominic. Since I made these yesterday, I'm lucky we even had any left to eat on St. Joseph's Day!
1 - Awful. If you make this again I'll shove a fork in my eye.
2 - Meh. It's not my favorite, but I won't threaten self-harm if it shows up
3 - Good. I wouldn't feel forced to order a pizza behind your back.
4 - Great! I will fight you for the leftovers.
5 - Love it! Make it again tomorrow. Or immediately and I will bathe in