Zeppole (or zeppoli in southern dialects), also called sfinge or St. Joseph’s Day cakes, are a traditional Italian pastry. Zeppole are traditionally consumed on March 19 on Saint Joseph’s Day (La Festa di San Giuseppe). In Rome, Naples, Sicily and on the island of Malta, these little pastries are sold on many streets and are sometimes gifts on this day.
Zeppole (Italian Doughnuts) Recipe
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
cooking oil (for frying)
sifted powdered sugar or granulated sugar or cinnamon-sugar mixture
In a large bowl beat ricotta cheese with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour, granualted sugar, baking powder, and salt & beat on low speed until just combined. Let batter stand 30 minutes. Drop batter by well-rounded teaspoons, four or five at a time, into deep hot fat (365 degree F). and cook 2 1/2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown turning once. Remove doughnuts with slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining batter. Cool completely. Shake doughnuts in a bag with powdered sugar, granulated sugar, or cinnamon/sugar mixture. Makes 3 dozen.
Photo credit: Barbara L. Hanson