Zeppole (Italian Donuts)
Ingredients for Donuts:
- 4 Oz Unsalted Butter room temperature and cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
- 1/4 C Water.
- 1/4 C Sugar plus more for topping.
- 1/4 Tsp Salt.
- 1 C All Purpose Flour.
- 4 Pastured Eggs.
- Vegetable Oil for frying.
Ingredients for Fresh Berry Compote (optional... but highly recommended):
- 2 C Fresh Blueberries.
- 1/3 C Sugar.
- 'Lil Water.
- In a medium sized saucepan, combine the butter, water, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally. Boil for 10 seconds. Remove from the heat and add the flour. Quickly stir the mixture until all the flour is just fully incorporated and forms a thick dough.
- Return the pan to the heat and stir continuously for 2 minutes.Scrape the mixture into a bowl and beat at medium speed with a hand mixer (you could use a whisk here but you're gonna need some serious arm muscles). Add the eggs, 1 at a time until fully incorporated. Beat the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes until thick and glossy. Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes.
- In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or wok, pour in enough oil to fill to about a third of the way. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer inserted in the oil reaches 375 degrees F. Alternatively, a cube of bread will brown in a couple of minutes. If it browns too quickly, turn down the heat! If it takes longer than that, allow the oil to heat longer. If your oil is too hot you risk setting the house on fire; If the oil is too cold, you'll end up with soggy, greasy donuts.
- Using a soup spoon or ice cream scoop, carefully slide dollops (about 1 tablespoon) of the dough into the oil. Be sure not to crowd the pan - you want the oil to maintain it's temperature. Fry for 3 to 3 1/2 minutes, turning occasionally, until the zeppole are golden and puffed. Drain on paper towels and toss in sugar while still hot. Repeat until all of the dough has been used.
- If filling with the berry compote: place washed berries, sugar and about 1/4 - 1/3 C water in a saucepan. Set over medium-high heat, stirring often and bring berries to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium and allow berries to break. Reduce until mixture is soft, pulpy and gooey. Remove from the heat, allow to cool slightly and puree with a hand blender until smooth. Pour into a pastry bag fitted with a pointed tip.
- To stuff the donuts: Being careful not to rub all the sugar off, insert a sharp knife halfway into the donuts and wiggle the tip so it creates a small cavern inside. Pull the knife out and gently squeeze the berry filled pastry bag into the center of the donuts. Don't squeeze too hard or you'll have berry mush everywhere. Like I did.
- Ravenously eat.