These puffed, light and buttery balls are the closest I can get to sugar doughnuts which I’m craving for. A trip to the doughnut shop doesn’t sound cool just when I’m already settled in at home after a busy day. Making zeppole is even easier because it requires the same dough used in making cream puff; just boil water, unsalted butter, sugar and salt together then add the flour and eggs to form the dough. I adapted the recipe here which I changed a little bit to suit my taste.
1 vanilla bean
1/2 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
1 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup water - not full (2 tbsp less)
1 cup all-purpose flour
vegetable oil for frying
Cut open the vanilla bean lengthwise. Using the back of a knife, scrape along the inside of the vanilla bean to collect the seeds. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into a small bowl. Add the 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon and stir to combine. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan combine the butter, salt, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Take pan off the heat and stir in the flour. Return pan to the heat and stir continuously until mixture forms a ball, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the 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 the next. Beat until smooth. If not frying immediately, cover with plastic wrap and reserve in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, pour enough oil into a large frying pan to reach a depth of 2 inches. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 375 degrees F.
Using a small ice-cream scooper or 2 small spoons, carefully drop about a tablespoon of the dough into the hot vegetable oil, frying in batches. Turn the zeppole once or twice, cooking until golden and puffed up, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Toss with vanilla-cinnamon sugar. Arrange on a platter and serve immediately.