We are a husband and wife on a culinary adventure! We have been inspired by several things to create a food blog. Our plan is to post new recipes, family favorites, and trips to local farms, orchards and markets. We are going to prepare one fine dining quality meal (or try) every week. We hope to be joined by friends and family for these dinners and we will share our trials, tribulations and results with the world. John is a pastry chef who has worked for ten years in some of New Jersey and New York’s best restaurants. Kat is a writer (she’ll write the text here, John will post the photos) and a teacher of writing.
To start out, last night we joined my (Kat’s) parents and sister’s family for a traditional Sunday dinner. My family is Sicilian/Irish. My mother is second generation American, and my father was born an Italian citizen (which he remained until just a few years ago!), so my siblings and I are first generation Americans! I bring that up because our dinners are often steeped in traditions. Despite being Irish, my mother is the best Italian cook I know! So, we gathered for some veal, eggplant parmesan, fried zucchini (not bread, just fried in oil and topped with parmesan cheese) and pasta. Of course, my family has come to expect dessert from John and I. I don’t think we disappointed!
John is also of Italian origin; he whipped out his grandmother’s zeppole recipe (my own Nonna never wrote hers down, sadly.) We have experimented with this recipe before (it’s not exactly precise, it includes instructions to add enough flour until it’s ready…) and we are pretty sure we have nailed it! We had some helped from my father’s memory regarding the technique of dropping the batter into the fryer, and voila! Perfect zeppoles! We made the yummy fried dough into three varieties: topped with powdered sugar, topped with honey and powdered sugar, and filled with home made ricotta (courtesy of my sister) topped with orange flavored honey.
Recipe for Zeppoles!
- Warm water 2 cups
- Dry yeast 1/2 oz
- Sugar 2 Tbsp
- Salt 1 tsp
- AP flour 3 1/2 – 4 cups
- Place yeast in a large bowl with the sugar and 2 Tbsp of the flour.
- Pour half of the water over the top. Let sit about 5 minutes.
- Pour in rest of the water, salt, and 3 1/2 cups of flour.
- Mix by hand with a wooden spoon. It will be a fairly loose batter.
- Cover and let rise one hour.
In the meantime, you can make the ricotta filling, and the orange honey.
- Ricotta 1 cup
- Powdered Sugar 1/4 c
- Ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp
- Orange zest 1 tsp
- Combine all in a bowl and beat together. Reserve.
- Add extra sugar if a higher level of sweetness is desired.
- Honey 1/2 cup
- Orange juice 1/2 orange
- Orange zest 1/2 orange
- Place all ingredients in a pot and bring to boil for about 30 seconds
- Cool to room temp.
Cooking the zeppoles:
- HEAT FRYER OIL TO 375 F!
- Using a tablespoon, drop spoonfuls of the risen dough into fryer.
- Turn once during cooking. You are looking for a golden brown on both sides.
- Remove and turn onto a paper lined plate to absorb excess oil.
- Repeat until finished.
This recipe makes quite a few, so invite your friends!
While hot, take some and toss in powdered sugar.
We also took some and drizzled with locally produced dark amber honey from Sussex County.
And for the remainder, we sliced to form a pocket, and filled with ricotta filling….then drizzled with orange honey!….These seemed to disappear the fastest.
For those who wish to try these, let us know how it goes!