Zeppole alla crema (Italian doughnuts with cream filling)

    40 min

    If you are in Italy around mid March, you can't miss the zeppole. They are doughnuts that are either dusted with icing sugar or filled with custard or pastry cream. Traditionally zeppole are made for St. Joseph's Day on March 19 but they luckily stretch into Easter time.

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    Makes: 8 zeppole

    • For the doughnuts
    • 250ml water
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 40g butter
    • 150g plain flour
    • 3 eggs
    • For the filling
    • 500ml ready to eat pastry cream or custard of your choice
    • 6 to 8 preserved sour cherries
    • 750ml sunflower oil for deep frying

    Prep:20min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:40min 

    1. In a heavy saucepan add water, salt and butter. Bring to the boil over medium heat, stirring often. Remove from the hob and all the flour at once.
    2. Whisk well to incorporate the flour, then return to the hob and continue to cook, stirring with a wooden spoon. In a few minutes the ingredients will from a ball that will separate from the sides and bottom of the pan. Stir until a white film forms at the bottom of the pan.
    3. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let slightly cool for a few minutes. Add 3 eggs, one at the time, while beating with an eletric mixer. Beat till smooth.
    4. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a big big star nozzle.
    5. Cut out 6 to 8 squares out of greaseproof paper about 10cm each. Pipe a spiral of 5cm in diametre on each square, starting from the outside and proceeding towards the inside.
    6. Heat the oil in a pan or in deep fryer and once hot, carefully let the spirals slide from the paper into the hot oil. Deep fry about two at the time, letting them float freely in the oil and turn carefully to brown evenly on both sides. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel.
    7. Once the fritters are slighty cooled, slice horizontally lengthwise and fill with the pastry cream. Also add a dollop of cream in the middle of the spiral, decorate with a sour cherry and serve.


    To make your own pastry cream, here is a recipe with video

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