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 !
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
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.