When it comes to desserts, I consider myself an expert. I don’t think there is a dessert I don’t like. Fruity, chocolaty, creamy, icy, it doesn’t really matter, I like them all.
There is something particularly special though about desserts that only come around once a year. Something that tells you, well, even though you had it yesterday, it’s okay to have it again today because it will be another year before you can have it again.
Zeppole top that list of once-a-year enjoyment. Where we live, an area filled with Italian bakeries and stores, there is no shortage of zeppole. Signs boasting how their bakeries make them fresh daily and get them now while they’re here do their job at pulling me in and enjoying them. We take them when we go to visit people, we enjoy them when friends come over and bring them for us, but, just as quickly as they come, they go.
This year, I only had one store-bought zeppole. It hit the spot – but, with St. Joseph’s day behind us, and most places already putting their zeppole-paraphernalia away, I wasn’t quite satisfied.
I decided to take my craving into my own hands. With a few simple ingredients and a few special ingredients, I made my own version of zeppole. I also changed up the flavours just a bit, and made them into a dessert I could eat one or two of and not feel like my teeth would fall out. There are two parts to the zeppole, the donut-like shell and the cream inside. Because everyone makes their zeppole so differently, I took this as a place to be creative. I used ricotta for my filling and flavoured it with clementine marmalade instead of the usual marinated cherry-filling. However, I think any of the marmalades offered through Sarafino would make a delicious, not-too-sweet filling to these spring-time treats.
This recipe yields 8 smaller zeppole.
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1/2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup organic all-purpose flour
1/4 cup almond flour
2 large eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese, regular
3 Tbsp clementine marmalade
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
I served these with more clementine marmalade on the side and everyone agreed that spreading more marmalade on the zeppole or dipping them added a delicious flavour to the treat!
- Preheat your oven to 400 F or 375 F for convection. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large saucepan, combine the milk, butter, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil over medium to medium-low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon. Once boiling, add the flours at once and stir until the mixture comes together into a ball, about 10-15 seconds.
- Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Start mixing and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix the dough for about a minute, until it is soft.
- Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a tip (I used a star tip) and pipe eight 7 cm circles onto your prepared baking sheet, leaving about 5 cm between shells.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and starting to get golden. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 F and bake about 7-10 more minutes. Turn off the oven, remove the shells and using a serrated knife, gently cut the shells horizontally to allow the inside of the shells to dry out a bit. Put the baking sheet back in the oven with the door propped open slightly for another 5 minutes. Cool for a few minutes before filling with cream mixture.
- To make the filling: in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment add all of the filling ingredients and mix until nicely combined and started to get smooth. Put the filling in a pastry bag (no tip necessary) and generously pipe into the bottom half of the shell. Top the zeppole with the cap of the shell and lightly sprinkle with icing sugar.
Enjoy these zeppole the day they are made for a fresh, light, delicious dessert!
This delicious blog was written by Adriana.