Whenever there is a street fair in town, I go on the hunt for Zeppoles. I purposely wear a dark t-shirt just so I can get it covered with sugar dust. I want people to know I am a Zeppole aficionado. But, there just aren’t enough street fairs each year to satisfy my cravings, so I’ve had to resort to making my own. I really like them when they’re hot, just out of the oil. But be forewarned—you can really burn your mouth if you’re not careful.
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, room temperature
oil for frying, such as peanut oil or vegetable oil
1/4 cup confectioners sugar, to dust
In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Over medium heat, stir while bringing mixture to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in flour. Once incorporated, place the saucepan back over medium heat and stir constantly for another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. It’s important for the flour to cook and the dough to be smooth.
Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and beat on medium speed for 1 minute using an electric mixer. Add 4 eggs, one at a time. Wait until each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat dough another minute until it is smooth. It should form a thick ribbon when you pull out the beaters. Transfer dough to a piping bag with a 1/2-inch opening. You could also use a large zip bag and cut a 1/2-inch opening at the tip.
Heat oil to 375˚F in a large pot. The oil will expand when you add the dough, so make sure you only fill the pot halfway with oil. Better yet, use a deep fryer if you have one. Use a thermometer to test the temperature. Once the oil is at temperature, pipe 1-inch lengths into the hot oil, cutting the dough quickly as it enters the oil. Pipe close to the surface of the oil to avoid splashes. Fry 4-5 minutes in total, turning them over after two-minutes. Using a spider, remove the zeppoles and place them on a cookie sheet covered with paper towels to absorb the excess oil. Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.
If you can’t eat them all at once, I’ve found reheating them in an air-fryer almost brings them back to their original yumminess.