Hello everyone, I’m new to this forum and wanted to tell you a little of what I was taught about the zeppole. My grandfather who was from Italy told me that the zeppole was an Italian pastry made on St. Joseph’s Day (March 19). St. Joseph is the patron saint of the working man and Italians.
My grandparents made St. Joseph’s Day a regular holiday. We had a big dinner with the whole family (just like Christmas or Thanksgiving) and at the end we all had a zeppole. He believed St. Joseph watched over us and I think it was my grandfather’s way to thank him.
The zeppoles you buy in the bakeries today aren’t real zeppoles. A real zeppole is not very sweet, has a lot of eggs and is not fried. The center is more like a custard than sweet. The "zeppoles" you buy in the bakeries not are more of a cream puff.
I have to thank you all, because reading about the zeppoles has brought back a lot of memories for me. My grandfather died about 10 years ago and it was great to think about all those great "holidays" we had with him.
Thank you again.
The different styles of zeppole all have a common origin, I think. They are just the different mutations a traditional feast day treat has taken, first in Italy and then beyond. The association of zeppole with St. Joseph’s Day goes back at least to the 19th century, I believe, in Naples; while other areas of Italy might call the same or similar little cakes sfingi or sfinci and so on. Fried or baked, filled or not, these are really variations on the common theme. It’s true that here in RI (as in some other parts of the country) one still commonly associates zeppole with St. Joseph (though they are sometimes available at other times), the thin fritters that go locally by the name of "wandi" are from the same family and are a staple of area bakeries. Fried dough is indeed a universally loved treat!
A picture of the filled, cream puff-style zeppoli (from Chicago, I believe):
This is my very first entry to this forum; I found this recipe for Zeppole; enjoy!!
Delicious fried cookies made with ricotta cheese. These are also known as
Italian doughnuts. Prep Time: approx. 15 Minutes. Cook Time: approx. 25
Minutes. Ready in: approx. 40 Minutes. Makes 35 Zeppole (35 servings).
Printed from Allrecipes, Submitted by Arvilla
2 quarts vegetable oil for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1 Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2 In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the
eggs, ricotta cheese and vanilla. Mix gently over low heat until combined. Batter will be sticky.
3 Drop by tablespoons into the hot oil a few at a time. Zeppole will turn over by themselves.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Copyright � 2003
—————————————– Side 2 Cut Out Below ————————————-
Fry until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Drain in a paper sack and dust with confectioners’
sugar. Serve warm.
We have determined the nutritional value of oil for frying based on a retention value of 10%
after cooking. The exact amount may vary depending on cook time and temperature, ingredient
density, and the specific type of oil used.
I used to live a block away from a place in Cliffside Park, NJ that made great zeppoles. It was called La Pizza Cafe. They were a bag full of heaven!
This seems to definitely be a localized thing, because the pizza places down here don’t do them. Up in Northern NJ, they were ubiquitous.
What I think is amazing is how many cultures and localities have some type of fried dough. I grew up with funnel cake. When I got to MD, it was elephant ears. There are zeppoles and bombolini and Indian fry bread and sopapillas and fankuchen (sp?). And all of it is SO good!
I used to love Zeppoles. Growing up on Long Island, we would get them at some of the local fairs and some pizza joints would make them too. Now here in Rhode Island, we have doughboys, which you can find at the clam shacks. They are a little bigger than Zeppoles, but taste just as good. Ironically here in Rhode Island, a Zeppole is a big tasty creamy delicious cream puff that you eat on St Joseph’s Day. It’s amazing how food terms change only a few hours away!
With summer being here, many carnivals and fairs sell zeppole’s.
Any favorite Zeppole recipes or memories out there?
A couple of freshly fried zeppole with generous amounts of powdered sugar…ahhhhh…summertime is here !
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