Summertime is filled with barbeques, beach days, and carnivals. There are foods associated with each of these places, with carnival food being particularly unique. Where else can you find funnel cake, fried oreos, and best of all – zeppoles? If you’ve never had a zeppole you don’t know what you are missing!
What Are Zeppoles?
Zeppoles originated in Naples, Italy by a baker who sold them from a stand outside his bakery. They later became a tradition as part of St. Joseph’s Day celebrations (differing from the Sicilian St. Joseph’s Day zeppole pastry). Simply put it is a dough ball fried in oil and then smothered in powdered sugar. They are best served hot right out of the oil and are extremely messy (don’t wear a dark colored shirt if you are going to eat them!), but there is nothing else like them. Many pizzerias in NY sell zeppoles, but they are typically room temperature and not as good as street vendors’ zeppoles.
My Zeppole Baking Experience
Since I’ve always liked to try to make everything at home as a teenager I wanted to try to make zeppoles. Who better to ask how make a traditional Italian street food than my Italian grandmother? Not surprisingly, my Grandma knew how to make them and had a recipe so we set to work on Sunday afternoon. There are only a few ingredients including flour, yeast, sugar, and oil so it didn’t seem to be too hard to make. Hours later we were still standing over the stove frying zeppoles that looked more like munchkins than zeppoles. My Grandma told me to enjoy them because we were NOT making them again! Some things are just better off left to professionals. Last year I attempted to make funnel cake and was instantly brought back to that afternoon with my Grandma and the thought of never making it again. Frying is not my thing.
If you are brave, here’s a recipe for zeppoles. I have never tried this recipe, but it seemed to get good reviews. I will be going to street fairs multiple times this summer to enjoy zeppoles! If you do decide to give them a try at home let us know how it went!