If you go to any kind of fair or outside event, you are more than likely going to run into a vendor selling fried dough. A lot of times that fried dough is in the form of funnel cakes. Oh how I love funnel cakes, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my first love of fried dough. And my first love was for zeppole.
What’s that? You’ve never heard of zeppole? Well, if you’re not from New York or New Jersey it’s probably not as familiar to you. I can speak as someone who grew up in NYC, and it definitely had (and still has) a huge presence of Italian culture and cuisine. Zeppole originates from Italy, and thank God for every Italian mom, grandma and auntie who brought the recipe over to the United States.
Sadly, living south of NYC, I haven’t been able to find a restaurant that offers zeppole. But recently I did a little foodie fact-finding on a Facebook foodie group. I was delightfully surprised to discover that there is a place—not terribly close, but foodies will travel.
I first experienced these semi-rounded, crispy, airy treats at my family’s favorite Italian pizzeria at the City Line in Brooklyn. When I was a kid, I would go to the pizza shop and get a slice, but if I had a little extra change, I would get the greasy white bag with ten golf ball sized pieces of golden fried goodness made right there on the spot. And I wasn’t going anywhere until my bag of zeppole was oozing with powdered sugar. The powdered sugar is a must so you can lick your fingers. There’s no place for couth when you’re getting down with the zeppole.
According to Olga’s Flavor Factory, zeppole, also referred to as an Italian doughnuts are made with pâte à choux dough. This kind of dough has no raising agent and only contains butter, water, sugar, salt, flour and eggs. However, there are some recipes that do use yeast dough. See the recipe below to learn how to make these tasty treats with yeast dough, and check out Olga’s Flavor Factory’s recipe for Zeppole made with pâte à choux dough.
Here’s a challenge to you MCCN readers. Make both of the recipes and let us know which one came out better.