Soon my friend Gloede will open a pizzeria in a lightly traveled, tightly knit corner of coastal Maine. Gloede has never run a pizzeria before. And he isn't from Maine, he's from New Jersey.
Lately my friend has been refining the recipes for his menu, a process that I am occasionally called upon to observe. Last Saturday is when he finalized his zeppole recipe, and as luck would have it I happened to be loitering in his kitchen at the time.
Zeppole (or sfinge if you prefer) are fried dough balls that are either filled with cream or simply sprinkled with powdered sugar. You can find the latter version at any Italian-American street fair, but it isn't often that somebody will make them for you in their home.
I will always be grateful that Gloede decided to perfect his zeppole recipe when I was within chewing distance. They're the best zepps I have ever had. Absolutely killer.
Not only that, but he decided to share.
This is like no zeppole batter I have ever seen. The full recipe is below but get this: it's got ricotta and mascarpone cheese. The zeppole I grew up with weren't made with any cheese at all, so I knew right away that these would be very different.
The mixture is warmed in a saucepan to help all the ingredients meld together and form a dough.
And then you start dropping spoonfuls into hot oil.
It only takes a couple minutes to cook the zepps.
And then they're ready to drain a bit on paper towels before sprinkling sugar and cinnamon on top.
You're gonna want to eat a whole bunch of these zeppole, trust me. But take my advice and go easy with them, okay. They're pretty rich.
I'll let you know when Gloede's place opens. You can see for yourself.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ricotta
1/2 cup mascarpone
3 tbs sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1-2 tsp vanilla extract (to taste)
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
2 oz. cold water
Confectioners sugar and cinnamon for dusting
Preheat to 300 degrees F an ample amount of cooking oil in a deep fryer or large pan.
In a separate saucepan combine and mix all ingredients (except confectioners sugar and cinnamon) while warming on stove until smooth.
Use teaspoon to form balls of dough, then drop into oil at 300 degrees F. (Zeps will flip when one side is done; shake basket to ensure.)
When done, drain on paper towels then transfer to a bowl and sift confectioners sugar and cinnamon over top. (You could also place the zeppole in a paper bag, add the sugar and cinnamon and shake.)