My girlfriend has made it a habit to record all Giada De Laurentiis shows. While watching one of these, a particular recipe caught our eye. We decided to try our hand at it that night. The outcome were doughnut-like apple morsels and a delicious whipped cream to pair with it.
The zeppole have grated apple in them, giving them their main flavor. If you decide to make these, use whatever apple you like - just make sure they're your favorite, and this dessert will be one too.
1/3 cup sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup water
1 cup flour
4 eggs, room temperature
1 large apple of your choice, peeled, cored, and finely grated
Oil for frying (canola or olive)
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Into a large, heavy pot, add enough oil to come at least 2 inches off the bottom. Bring to 325ºF, and keep it close to that temperature. In the meantime, bring to a boil the sugar, butter, salt, and water in a medium saucepan. After reaching a boil, immediately remove from heat and add in the flour. Using a wooden spoon, mix until it all comes together, then place back onto heat. Stir continuously for 3-5 minutes, or until a thick ball forms (similar to making choux). Remove from stove top and mix the dough with an electric mixture for a minute to release some of the heat. Add the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. After the final egg has been added, continue beating the dough until smooth.
Carefully drop about a teaspoon of the dough at a time into the hot oil, working in batches of 5 or 6 at a time, as to not crowd the surface. It helps if you have a small cookie scoop; if you don't, you can drop the dough in with spoons, but your final zeppole won't look as nice. Flip periodically until the zeppole are lightly browned and puffed, 4-5 minutes, then transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to wick away excess oil. Allow to cool to room temperature, then dust with powdered sugar and serve with Cinnamon Whipped Cream (side note: if you want to eat them while they're hot, that's just fine. However, your whipped cream will melt if you try to dip them, and won't stick to the zeppole). Yields 6 servings.
Cinnamon Whipped Cream:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine all the ingredients and whip with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a serving dish, and serve alongside the cooked zeppole.
These were devoured quickly when I brought the leftovers in to work the next day, so there seems to be no real problems with letting the zeppole sit out at room temperature overnight. Just keep them covered with plastic wrap, and make sure you refrigerate the whipped cream; let this come to room temperature before serving.