In the midst of writing a historical romance about an Italian girl who loves to cook, I decided to try out a few Italian recipes, trying to stick to selections she would have made in 1900.
Lucky enough to stumble across a cookbook, Italian Cooking, written by Dorothy Daly in 1900, it really helped me know the types of ingredients Caterina would have used and had available as well as cooking methods.
Of my experiments, so far, Captain Cavedweller has liked Zeppole the most. Zeppole are Italian pastries, deep-fried of various sizes (especially if I’m the one making them!). Typically, they are about four inches in diameter.
I almost had to beat CC away with my spatula when I was finishing making these the other day because he was eating them about as fast as I was cooking them.
Rich and yeasty, they were really simple to make and amazingly tasty.
See wasn’t that easy?
2/3 cup sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg. instant yeast
1 cup warm water
Mix flour, sugar and salt then set aside.
Empty yeast into a large bowl with warm water. Stir until dissolved then let rest about five minutes.
Add in eggs and whip lightly then add flour and stir until well mixed.
Cover bowl with a dish towel and set in a warm place for 20 minutes. Stir down the dough and let rise again before frying.
Heat a heavy-duty pan of oil on medium-high heat until a drop of dough sizzles in the pan.
Drop a tablespoon full of the dough (think in terms of the size of a plum) into the oil, being carefully not to burn yourself on any splatters and cook until golden brown. The Zeppole turn themselves over when they are cooking, which is fun to watch.
Drain on paper towels or paper bags (to soak up the grease) then drench in sugar. I liked powdered sugar best and CC preferred cinnamon and sugar. Either is delicious.
You can also serve these with fruit or whipped cream, if you so desire. (Or stand over the bag with powdered sugar devouring these like a ravenous beast.)
She Who Loves Italian Food