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The most perfect weather on the island, slightly cooler now. Clear blue skies, the gentlest breeze and a feeling of warmth. Summer will be with us for at least another month or so and this is the time to go to the beach without the midsummer crowds.

I am preparing a batter to make Zeppoli for tea today. These Neapolitan bite size doughnuts are very popular on the island. I adapted Giada’s recipe for Zeppoli and I am adding the most delicious local thyme honey and orange zest. I love her recent book launch with a food tour round the world for children. In the first book of the series Alfie and Emilia are magically taken to an adventure round the world starting off in Naples where they are introduced to Zeppoli amongst other traditional delights. This follows with two other books to Paris and Hong Kong with more to follow. A lesson in geography, cooking and culture in one go and I am sure they will love it !

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I am not filling my Zeppoli today as tea will follow a big lunch out but usually I pipe ricotta into them.

You will need.

1 cup flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Few drops vanilla extract
1 stick butter
Pinch of salt
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
Oil for frying
Honey to drizzle, I use Mediterranean Thyme
Zest of two oranges

In a saucepan combine the butter, salt, sugar and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil.. Add the vanilla and cinnamon. Take pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Return pan to the heat and stir continuously until mixture forms a ball, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the flour mixture to a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer on low speed add the eggs, 1 at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. Beat until smooth. I like to leave the batter to rest covered in the fridge.

Pour oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat.

Using a small ice-cream scoop or 2 small spoons, carefully drop about a tablespoon of the dough into the hot oil, frying in batches.

Today I am using a piping bag with a small plain nozzle and I simply squeeze the bag and ‘slice’ off the batter as it pours down the nozzle. You can achieve very small sized zeppoli with this method and it is very fast.

Turn the Zeppoli once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up, about 5 minutes. Arrange on a platter.

Drain on paper towels. drizzle with honey and scatter the orange zest on top.

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3 Comments on “Giada’s round the world food tour for kids and Zeppoli with Mediterranean Thyme Honey for tea !

  1. While I know frequenting restaurant chains diminishes my appearance of being the amateur gourmet, I have found that I have very little self control when the opportunity arises to alleviate my appetite at the Olive Garden. One reason for this is the fried dough offered at the end of the meal, aptly called Zeppoli. I can be pretty certain that these horribly irresistible rectangles of powdered sugar covered fried dough are made with yeast, whereas yours are not. I am also intrigued by the small comment you made stating that you filled your zeppoli. The picutres of your zeppoli make them appear to be about the size of a walnut in the shell. When you fill them are they bigger? And then what, besides ricotta, do you fill them with? Looking forward to your answers………Tonya A. Pekin, Illinois, USA

    • Hello Tonya. Thank you for your message. The recipe I use here is a choux pastry dough which requires no yeast. My Zeppoli are small in the photo, they are bite size and I decided not to fill them as they are lighter as a dessert after a meal but it is possible to pipe a ricotta filling in small Zeppoli, slightly larger than mine. You will need a small nozzle and instead of splitting the zeppole you just need to pierce a small hole and insert the nozzle to pipe in the ricotta. Please let me know if you require more information !

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