This is a simple recipe for a family favorite appetizer. We had them every Christmas. The last time Mom made these, they didn’t make it to the table. We all hovered around the stove and ate them as they were taken out of the oil. They can be made sweet or savory but they have to be made. They are best eaten hot but are just fine at room temperature. They differ significantly from their counterpart, zeppole di san giuseppe, which is an egg batter (or pate choux) that is cream filled and definitely a dessert item.
The ingredients are:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp Salt
3/4 cups of water
1 package of dry yeast
6 cups of frying oil such as safflower or canola
It is traditional to add anchovies or raisins or roll them in granulated sugar when they come out of the oil. The anchovies and raisins are added to the dough and are used sparingly.
Mix the flour, salt, water and yeast in a clean bowl. Let the dough rest for at least 2 hours. It is a wet dough. After that time, gently push down the dough so it is easier to work with. Using a large spoon, scoop out dough in balls that are a little larger than a golf ball. Place them into oil that has been placed into a sauce pot and heated to 350-365 degrees. You can place several in at a time, but don’t crowd them too much. When they are golden brown on all sides, remove them from the oil and place them on a rack or paper bag to drain for a few minutes. If you are rolling them in sugar, do it while they are still warm. Serve and eat immediately. These are a great comfort food.