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Recipe Card: Potato Zeppole (doughnuts)

Zeppole anyone?!  These sweet morsels are also known as sfinci in Sicilian or simply nonna's doughnuts in our family.  My maternal nonna would make her pizza dough with added potato in the mix to render it soft and light. She always made extra dough for us to enjoy the doughnuts while we waited for the pizza to come out of the oven.


300 g boiled & mashed potatoes
500 g flour
1 tbsp sugar
200 ml warm water
1 sachet active dry yeast
1 lemon zest (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
vegetable or canola oil for frying
sugar to cover the doughnut

Boil the potatoes until cooked through. Drain fully and crush the potatoes with a fork or pass through a potato ricer.

Dissolve yeast in a glass of warm water and set aside.

Sift the flour on a board in a shape of a mountain, make a well in the center where to put the dissolved yeast, the rest of the water, a pinch of salt, sugar, the smashed potatoes and the zest of one lemon.

Mix all ingredient together and knead till you get a soft dough, then cover it with a cloth and let it rise for about an hour.

Cut the dough in small tubes around 10 cm long each, create the ring-shaped doughnuts and leave them to stand a bit longer covered with a clean dish towel (this is to get a softer consistency).

Fry the Zeppole in hot oil taking care that they do not burn.

When the doughnuts are golden brown (1 to 2 minutes on each side should be enough), quickly drain the donuts on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Roll the warm doughnuts in the sugar to cover them on sides. You can also flavour the sugar with cinnamon.

Serve warm.

NB: If you want jam filled Zeppole, create balls of dough (you will fill them with jam by using a syringe as soon as the batter is fried).

Alternatively, if you wish to make a savory version and fill them with anchovies, create an indentation in the ball with your finger. Fill and pinch closed the donut and then fry.


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