Last week while my husband was away on a business trip and my daughter was off at tennis camp, I was home all alone for two whole days. This, my friends, never happens. Usually, my daughter is at home or one of my older children stop by for a visit, but not this time. It was just me, my poodles and my new lab puppy.
Although the house was quiet and I missed having my family around, I actually got so much accomplished – I almost feel guilty admitting this…
I got up early and worked on the blog for the entire day. I developed and photographed recipes, caught up on emails, and did general behind the scenes blog techy stuff. On a personal note, I also cleaned out an upstairs closet, gave the dogs baths and I even managed to finish a book!
Although I got a lot done, I missed the activity in my house. I missed my guys and really, two poodles and a lab puppy just don’t make great conversations.
One thing I missed most of all was cooking dinner for my family. When I’m home alone or when it’s just my daughter and I, we eat very simply. Often a salad is our perfect meal.
But when I learned that a friend of mine, who is in the middle of a kitchen renovation, had an unexpected delay with her contractors, I jumped at the chance to cook and take dinner to her and her family. Cooking is what I love to do and I especially love cooking for others.
When cooking for other people, it’s always a challenge to make sure I send the right meal. I have a few go-to dishes that are easy to transport and I generally rotate between those. One dessert I’ve made for my family before but not for friends is Zeppole.
Are you familiar with Zeppole? They’re sometimes known as Italian doughnuts and they’re delightful balls of crispy, fried dough sprinkled with powdered sugar. The version of Zeppole I love to make is made with creamy ricotta cheese and is always a sweet ending to a any savory meal.
These Zeppole remind me of little fried cheesecakes. They’re soft in the center with a delicate crispy “crust”. They almost melt in your mouth.
When I make Zeppole at home, I usually leave off the powdered sugar. These nuggets are very lightly sweetened and I actually like them plain. I thought they might not be sweet enough to send to friends so I literally doused them with powdered sugar – not a good idea. I placed them in a bag with powdered sugar and gave the bag a little shake. This produced balls completely covered in powdered sugar. They were still tasty but a bit too much sugar for my taste.
What I found to be a better idea was to lightly sprinkle the Zeppole with powdered sugar so they only had a light dusting of sugar over the tops. They were much prettier and the light sugar dusting was really all that was needed. I used a mesh strainer to achieve this result.
Zeppole di Ricotta is very easy to make; just mix together the dough ingredients and stir in ricotta cheese, eggs and vanilla. Drop by the teaspoons into hot oil and fry them for 3-4 minutes. They’re really easy.
Although we enjoy these simply, you could even drizzle a chocolate sauce or a raspberry coulis, similar to the one I used in our Knickerbocker Glory recipe, over the top.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups Ricotta Cheese
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- quart of oil (for frying)
- Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder,a nd salt in a large bowl.
- Add the ricotta, eggs, and vanilla; stir well to combine. Set aside.
- Pour enough oil into a large, deep pot to reach a depth of 2-inches. Heat oil on medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees F.
- Drop batter by heaping teaspoonfuls into hot oil, a few at a time. Fry until golden-brown, 3-4 minutes per batch.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer zeppole to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve warm.
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