Christmas wouldn't be the same without Mom's zeppole (Italian donuts). Fifty years ago, our Mom got this recipe from her neighbor Lucille and that was the start of our love affair with zeppole! From her first batch, they became a holiday favorite in our home. During the holiday season you would always find a pot filled with vegetable oil, just waiting for Mom to whip up a batch. Our home was always filled with friends and neighbors and Mom always had them available. Everyone loved them and they were quickly devoured. Our zeppole are heavenly with their light, spongy texture, and sprinkling of powdered sugar. Even Santa loves them & keeps coming back for more! ❤️❤️
- 2 cups Presto* cake flour (sift before measuring)
- 4 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla paste or extract
- 4 eggs, well beaten
- 1½ lbs. of whole milk ricotta cheese
- Vegetable oil, 2 to 3 inches deep for frying
- Slowly heat the vegetable oil in a 1 – 2 qt stainless steel saucepan, to a temperature of 375º. (use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature)
- In a large bowl, place the cake flour, sugar, vanilla, eggs, and ricotta cheese and mix well with a wooden spoon.
- When the oil temperature reaches 375º, take a flatware tablespoon of batter and using your index finger or another spoon, carefully slide the batter off the spoon into the hot oil, being careful not to splash yourself. Set the timer for 3 minutes once they are in the pot. Depending on the size pot you use, fry 2-4 at a time. They turn on their own so no need to turn them.
- After 3 minutes, remove to paper towels to drain any excess oil.
- Continue frying 2-4 zeppole at a time until batter is used up.
- Put the cooked zeppole in a serving dish and sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve while warm.
Notes: *Presto cake flour is self-rising and contains baking powder & salt. If not available in your local grocery store, order from Amazon. Swan Cake flour is not self-rising and will require the addition of baking powder and salt; however, we don’t know you’ll get the same results.
Zeppole need room to turn over on their own so don’t crowd them. We used a small 1 qt saucepan and fried 2 at a time. If you want to fry 4 or 5 at a time make sure you use at least a 6 qt saucepan.
The powdered sugar will melt if they sit awhile before serving so sprinkle with additional powdered sugar as needed.