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Friday, March 19, 2010

Zeppole for the Feast of St. Joseph





From the kitchen of One perfect Bite...The calendar for March contains a holiday as important to Italians as St. Patrick's Day is to those of Irish ancestry. The feast of St. Joseph always falls on the 19th of March. Religious Italians believe that the intercessions of St. Joseph saved the population of Sicily from a serious drought during the Middle Ages. So, in his honor it is the custom for all to wear red on this day, in the same way that green is worn on St.Patrick's Day. Those who observe the holiday will attend Mass and make a contribution of food that is placed on a large altar called St. Joseph's table. The table, which is blessed by a priest, consists of three tiers to represent the Trinity. The table will be laden with meatless food that will include pasta with bread crumbs, seafood and fava beans. The beans are considered to be lucky because during the Sicilian drought the bean crop did not fail. The bread crumbs are symbolic of the sawdust that covered the floor of St. Joseph's workshop. The top tier of the altar always contains a statue of St. Joseph. The feasting begins with a traditional cry of "Viva la tavola di San Giuse!" When everyone has had their fill, the altar is smashed and three children, representing the holy family, will knock on doors asking for shelter. The re-enactment is called the "Tupa Tupa" or "Knock Knock." At the end of the celebration, everyone is given a fava bean to remind them to pray to the man who saved the Sicilians. I know that celebrations such as these are fading into history and, sadly, the ties that bind these various communities to their emigrant roots will be lost. I had the great privilege as a child to see the preparations for this celebration from the Italian kitchen of my childhood benefactor, Mrs. S. She taught me how to make zeppole, which are served on this day. A true zippole is baked and filled with cream. It is a time consuming process, so I set out to find one that would be easier to do. I found one developed by Giada De Laurentis that I want to share with you today. I had to smile as I prepared the recipe. Certain foods have spread across oceans and found their way into the diets of people who have nothing else in common. We can add fried dough, to that list. This version of zeppole can, fairly, be called an Italian donut. It is simple and inexpensive to make and, when served warm, absolutely wonderful. Here's the recipe for a delicious Italian donut.

Zeppole
...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite, courtesy of Giada De Larentis
Ingredients:
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup + 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided use
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 stick butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
Olive oil, for frying

Directions:

1) Cut open vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Set aside.
2) In a medium saucepan combine butter, salt, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Take pan off the heat and stir in flour. Return pan to heat and stir continuously until mixture forms a ball, about 3 to 5 minutes.
3) Transfer flour mixture to a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer on low speed, add eggs, 1 at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding next. Beat until smooth. If not frying immediately, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
4) Meanwhile, pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F. Using a small ice-cream scoop or 2 small spoons, carefully drop about a tablespoon of the dough into the hot olive oil, frying in batches. Turn zeppole once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Toss with cinnamon-sugar. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

You might also enjoy these recipes:

New Orleans Beignets - One Perfect Bite
Calas - Sweet Rice Fritters - One Perfect Bite
Open Mouths Laughing - One Perfect Bite

This recipe is being linked to:
Designs By Gollum - Foodie Friday

63 comments:

The Muse said...

I did not know much of this information...and have been glad to gather this culinary insight!

We have not had the Zepolle made in our own kitchen, so i am sure this will be one my beloved will want to try this recipe :)

Regina said...

Yummy!
Happy weekend Mary.

Mary at Deep South Dish said...

Another fritter, yay! And a reminder of a wonderful tradition.

zurin said...

OH YUm how irresistable is that!!!

Allie and Pattie said...

Buona Festa di San Giseppe, Mary! I'm so happy to see that these traditions are not forgotten
xoxo Pattie

bj said...

Hi, Mary girl...these sound so delightful.
I've not heard the story of St. Joseph..very glad to learn this bit of info.
It is 3:40 a.m., I am up making coffee and i just MIGHT make myself some of these delicious sounding donuts. Then, I can go back to bed, full, content and ready for sleep....:)

3 hungry tummies said...

I am going to make some now, will let you know how it goes :)

Bellini Valli said...

I think that somehow these traditions will linger on when we can share delicious foods and traditions with our family and friends.Every culture seems to have some form of doughnut....delicious!!!

MaryMoh said...

Mmm...looks very delicious. They look like little donuts but without the hole in the middle. This would be so good for kid's party.

My Little Space said...

Such lovely finger food and looks so addictive too! I think I prefer cinnamon sugar coating better.

Vanillastrawberryspringfields said...

So true,arent these delicious donutty suprises.....Lovely My dear sweet Mary...

♥ Kathy said...

What a sweet story Mary! I bet these are really delicious! I would love the original recipe with the cream :)

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Thanks for relating all that historical information about the day.Too bad these traditions are dying off, but I'm glad you're doing your part.

Sonia (Nasi Lemak Lover) said...

Mary, I bet my kids would love this, will try out soon for them. Thanks for sharing!

Lisa said...

I love these but have never made them because I don't fry. We always get them at feasts and Italian street festivals.

teresa said...

hello! so nice to meet you too! your blog is lovely, and this treat in particular is just mouthwatering!

The Fajdich Times said...

Enjoyed the story of St. Joseph. Your Zepolle looks delish:)

lostpastremembered said...

I do love zeppole but now I know why...all that wonderful butter... great recipe and photos~

susan said...

Mary-Somehow I have been missing you lately. I am going to go back and see all that I have missed. I learned so much about St. Joseph's Day--poor thing he must feel like the red headed step child of saints after all hullabaloo over St Patrick :)I think I like St. Joseph's food better. The zepolle looks delicious!

Carla and Michael said...

Mary, you always bring us such amazing information with your wonderful posts. Thank you so much. I have learned some wonderful things about many different cultures from you. The zeppole look fantastic.

Kristen said...

Your introductions are just as wonderful as your recipes. What a treasure of information! The zeppole look delicious.

Hungry Dog said...

Yum. I saw the episode where Giada made these and was totally entranced by them--I had never heard of zeppole before. Yours are stunning!

Alessandra said...

Wow, I love the zeppole. In Italy is Father day today...

ciao
Alessandra

Holly said...

Great story! Never heard of the feast of St. Joseph. These look really really good!!
The Peppered Pantry~

Andreas said...

It's interesting to know the folklore behind dishes.

Well done lighting of the pictures.

Cottage Sisters said...

These look delicious! I love that you said this was the easy version because that is always my favorite kind. I know my daughter will love them. Thanks for sharing, have a wonderful day! Denise@cottagesisters

Arlette said...

these looks tempting and delicious my friend... I had this recipe from an Italian blogger and its on my to do list and I didnt get to it yet ,,
In Lebanon St. Joseph also has a nice celebration at church, but not similar to the Italian.. and This tradition is new to me.

Rachelle said...

I have actually been looking for this recipe. And suddenly here it is on your blog. Thanks for posting.

croquecamille said...

Wow, Italian fried pâte à choux! Who knew? Thank you for stopping by my blog, and thank you for an informative and mouthwatering post!

TREAT AND TRICK said...

Hi, this is so beautiful and fried to perfection, love to try zeppole.....

Miss Meat and Potatoes said...

My mouth is watering just looking at these. What a great example of how sometimes simple things (flour, eggs, etc.) are often the best. Especially with a little vanilla bean thrown in the mix. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

Barbara said...

I saw Giada make those, Mary. They looked soooo good! And now here you are telling me their history and how good her recipe is.
Guess I'll have to break down and make them!

Brandi @ Frugal Farmhouse said...

these look so good!! thank you for sharing :) YUUM!

Joie de vivre said...

How neat! I grew up Catholic, but have never heard of the feast of St. Joseph. What a wonderful tradition.

Angie's Recipes said...

These make a perfect a coffee accompaniment.

Anusce@Ciao-Chow said...

I wish you could have been here in Italy with me today! We had the Frittelle di San Giuseppe (here in Lucca), you would have loved them, because they are made with rice!

noble pig said...

So yummy sounding...we always celebrated St. Joseph's Day at an I talian restaurant, the feast was amazing.

Jen_from_NJ said...

You are so right about traditions fading away. My grandparents always went to mass and had a St. Joseph's cake on this day. Thanks for the reminder! Your zeppoles look fantastic!

Rachana Kothari said...

Thanks for dropping by Mary and for your wonderful comment:)
Zeppole looks delicious:)
Have a nice weekend!

Rick said...

I think I may have to make that.

http://bittersweetsugarandsarcasm.blogspot.com/

tasteofbeirut said...

Mary

i had some donuts filled with cream in san fransisco and I thought they were called bomboloni!

Claudia said...

I was so going to make zeppoles today and life got in the way. So am very glad you did! I would love one now.

oneordinaryday said...

What an interesting post. And the zeppole look amazing.

Saveurs et Gourmandises said...

Ces beignets semblent délicieux.
J'aime beaucoup.
Bonnes fêtes.
A bientôt.

Laurie said...

Wow, great site! Thank you for visiting me. Everything looks wonderful.

DomesticProductions15.com

LDH said...

Love the history and background of each recipe that you post! Thanks for the work that you put into making your blog such a great one!

Dee said...

Thank you for finding my blog. I am so thrilled to find the Zepolle here. Most recently my nieghbor was remembering some of the Feast of St. Joseph from decades past. She was telling us about the large alters & foods. It was so wonderful hearing her stories & then finding your blog. Have a wonderful day.

Martha said...

Delizioso! :-)

The Chef In My Head said...

Mary, your zepolle look really tasty! Thank you for the history, very interesting. Finally getting some of my blog issues (my lack of knowledge) worked out and am retiring from my insurance business at the end of March. Yea, more time to blog!! Be back soon, I'm sorry I've been a stranger lately. I always enjoy your blog and the effort and details you put into your posts :)
~LeslieMichele

Ingrid said...

Thanks for the lesson.

I've made zeppoles at home but always from pizza dough I bought at a pizzeria. The kids and I love these. I really should try homemade dough.
~ingrid

Mila said...

Yum YUM YUM! Love this recipe!
I haven't had Zepolle in ages!

Sherry said...

That is fantastic! I love Giada.
Win Rachael Ray bake ware at my blog.
Thanks!
Sherry

Valérie said...

I had never heard of zeppole until I read a short article on them this week. I just keep being amazed at all the things choux pastry can be turned into! Your zeppole look delicious!

Kim said...

They look delicious and light. I can see myself overindulging in these very easily:D

Michael Lee West said...

I love when food history and sweetness collide into Zepolle. Hope you have a great week, Mary!
--Gollum

New England Candy Co. said...

Those look so yummy!!
Rebecca @ New England Candy

Michael Toa said...

I've been wanting to try to make zeppole for some time now. I have saved your recipe and will have a go soon :)

Tuty @Scentofspice.com said...

Fried dough is just irresistible :)
Yours look nice and fluffy.

Katy ~ said...

Oh my. I am sure that I could eat many of these. MANY!

Justin said...

i am such a big fan of zeppole, but i've never thought of making them at home. i guess frying usually makes me nervous.

msmeanie said...

I love Zeppole - I used to have it at small Italian restaurants in New York when I was a kid. These look beautiful!

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Happy St. Joseph's Day, Mary. Oh, how I remember the delicious zeppole we'd get at the Italian Feast in Brooklyn when I was little. Put in a brown paper bag, with powdered sugar. Then when my son was little and we still lived in Bklyn, we were able to get them at a couple of the pizza parlors -- again, in the brown bag and the powdered sugar! I could sure go for one right now. I also have a nice St. Joseph's prayer that my Mother loved and always gave out to people, let me know if you'd like me to send you a copy.
Have a good week, Mary!
Best,
Gloria

Maria Briggs said...

This is an awesome recipe for traditional zeppoles, however this is not the correct recipe for St. Joseph's zeppoles. But they are good!

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