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(Makes about 30)
Zeppole are a fried Italian pastry that are served warm and dusted with confectioners' sugar or cinnamon-sugar. Zeppole are a traditional treat made for St. Joseph's Day which is March 19. Fried pastries are also a typical sweet made for Carnevale, which is similar to Mardi Gras in the US, and is the final celebration before Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent.
These zeppole was wonderfully crisp on the outside and tender inside. This dough contains both yeast and baking powder so it will be very wet and sticky before frying. Zeppole are best served warm.
1-1/3 cups flour 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 2 teaspoons active dry yeast 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup warm water (110⁰ F) 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract Peanut or vegetable oil Confectioners' sugar for dusting Directions: In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add the vanilla to the warm water and stir the liquid into the flour mixture until well combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean towel and set aside to rise at room temperature for about 30 minutes or until double in volume.
Add oil to a large saucepan or deep fryer until it measures about 2 inches deep. Heat to 375⁰ F. Have a paper-towel lined plate nearby to place the fried zeppole on.
Using a tablespoon, add 6 heaping tablespoons of batter to the oil at a time. Use another spoon to scrape the batter from the tablespoon into the oil. The dollops of batter should be about the size of a walnut. Don't attempt to fry too many at once or the temperature of the oil will drop and the zeppole will absorb too much oil. Continue frying 6 at a time until all the batter is used.
Fry until golden brown, about 2 - 3 minutes, flipping the balls over a few times so that they brown evenly. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the zeppole to the prepared plate.
If you want to keep the zeppole warm as you continue frying, place them on a paper-towel lined wire rack on a baking sheet in a 200⁰ F oven.
Dust the zeppole liberally with confectioners' sugar and serve.
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