There's something magical about the doughnut. Especially when you're greeted with all the bright colors, sparkly decorations, and gooey glazed tops in a doughnut shop display case. But no matter how delicious they look, it is hard to find a store-bought doughnut that compares with the ones that are homemade. Believe it or not, they're really not hard to make. You can make up a batch of cake doughnuts in about an hour. Put together a batch of yeast-raised the night before, and all you have to do is fry them the next morning.
Zeppole originated in Italy, primarily know in Rome and Naples but are known in many Italian American communities in the United States as well. They can also be filled with custard, jelly, cannoli style pastry cream, whipped cream, candied fruits, chocolate pudding, and also filled with ricotta mixed with small pieces of chocolate chips. The custom was popularized in the early 19th century by the Neapolitan baker Pasquale Pintauro. Zeppole can also be savory, and consist of fried bread dough often filled with anchovies. In parts of Calabria, Italy, (my mom’s family is from there) the anchovies are consumed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. In Malta, Italy, anchovy zeppole are traditionally consumed during the Lent fasting period.
On June 3rd, Dunkin' Donuts will offer guests worldwide a free donut of their choice with the purchase of any beverage. Check out donut shops in your local area to see if they are celebrating “National Donut Day” by giving away free donuts.
To honor National Doughnut Day, I am sharing my version of an Italian donut the “Zeppole.” My recipe this week is from a cookbook I received from my niece, Emily at Christmas. She waited on a long line to purchase this book and even had it signed from the Master Chef Lidia Bastianich herself. The book is called “Lidia’s Mastering The Art Of Italian Cuisine.” I have the pleasure to participate in my food blogger friend Louise‘s, “Months Of Edible Celebrations.” She is posting to her blog recipes that are taken from cookbooks, magazines, booklets, etc. on Wednesday, as “Cookbook Wednesdays.” So stop over at her blog and tell her that I sent you, she may have a cup of coffee for you.
Ingredients for dough:
2 cups of water
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1/ 2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (optional)
4 large eggs at room temperature
Vegetable oil for frying
Heat oil to 350°F. in a wide saucepan or a deep fryer. (The oil should be an inch or two deep) Use a candy thermometer to check the temp. In a medium saucepan combine 1 cup of water, the butter, granulated sugar, and salt over medium heat. Bring this to a boil stirring to melt the butter. While stirring add the flour and the zest all at once. Cook, stirring constantly, until the dough dries out and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 or 4 minutes. Take off of the heat, cool a little bit, then add eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously to incorporate one before adding the next, until the dough is completely smooth. (this is like a cream puff dough)
Safety First When Making Doughnuts Or Zeppoles!
When deep-frying, the cooking oil reaches very high temperatures, which can start fires or cause burns. Before you roll up your sleeves to make doughnuts, review a few safety guidelines:
- Have a kitchen fire extinguisher handy (and learn now to use it!) before you begin.
- Avoid letting water come into contact with the hot oil -- the water will vaporize into steam, which can make the oil spatter and cause burns.
- Never use water to put out a grease fire. Use a kitchen fire extinguisher, or cover the fire with a metal lid.
- Always add oil to a cold fryer that is turned off or an unheated pan. Make sure any fryer or pan you use is dry and set away from sources of water.
- Never leave the fryer or pan unattended when it is in use.
- When finished frying, turn off and unplug the fryer (or remove the pan from the heat). Make sure the fryer or pan is completely cool before cleaning.
- Once oil is completely cooled, pour it into a resealable container and discard it in the trash. Never pour it down the drain, as it can harden and clog pipes.
- Fry in a heavy pot with walls high enough to leave at least a few inches clearance above the surface of the oil. I think Dutch ovens are excellent vessels for frying.
- Use an oil or fat with a high smoke-point to prevent burning. Canola and Grape seed oil are good choices (canola is more economical) or use lard or shortening instead.
- When placing the doughnuts into the oil, hover over the surface, and then gently slide them into the oil. Do not drop from high above the surface, which will cause the oil to splatter upward.
- Constantly monitor the temperature of the oil. It needs to be 350°F or a bit lower for frying. Do not allow it to go above, which can cause it to smoke and make it a fire risk. Never leave a pot set on the stove unattended. Never pour liquid into hot oil.
Till Next Time……………..
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