Photo by Sean Michael Hower.
Fleetwood’s on Front Street
Zeppole is one of my favorite recipes because it takes me back. My parents decided to open a bakery on the East Coast around the time I was five. Opening a new business as we know is not an easy adventure. My parents decided that a babysitter was not an option, so I would get up with my father around 10pm and go to the bakery. My father would always give me a chocolate milk and let me climb the mountain of 100-pound flour bags until I found the softest one to call my bed for the night while he made doughs to Creedance Clearwater. After midnight my mother would show up and start getting her butter creams and colored frostings ready to start decorating the sheet cakes and rounds that were cooling on the speed racks. I always woke up around 5am, when a couple other bakers would show up to help with production, and at that time every day my father was making zeppole. I remember the smell every time I think about it. It may not be an amazing recipe but to me it reminds me of why I work 15-hour days. To this day the smell of a fresh zeppole coming out of the fryer excites me like Christmas morning.
Always work clean. Nothing to me is more frustrating than when I’m ready to get some work done and my area is sloppy. Be meticulous! My knife is always clean and in the same spot, my finishing oils are always full and in the same spot, my garnishes are always fresh and in the same spot. As crazy as a kitchen gets, don’t make your job harder. Clean as you go and that cleanliness will spill out into your food and presentation.
Zeppole (also known as italian doughnuts)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mascarpone
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 oz cold water
3 to 1 ratio white sugar to cinnamon
2 quarts canola oil
Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in one bowl
In a sauce pot, mix ricotta, mascarpone, vanilla, egg and water
Heat on low until combined, add flour mixture
Fold until smooth and dough forms
Transfer to baking sheet, let rest 15 minutes
Heat canola oil to 325 degrees
Using a 1 oz ice cream scoop, portion the dough
Drop into hot oil until brown, 7-8 minutes, flip for even color
When removed from fryer toss into cinnamon/sugar mixture.
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