Zeppole are a traditional Italian pastry - it's essentially a glorified doughnut, but that doesn't really do justice to the light, puffy, custardy treat. Thank you to Eugenio for the idea and translating his mother's recipe for us.
For the cream (will make about 700g)
- 4 egg yolks
- 140g sugar
- 45g cornflour
- 1 vanilla pod
- 400ml full-fat milk
- 100ml single cream
For the choux pastry (will make about 10-12 large zeppole)
- 6 mid-size eggs
- 500ml water
- 2 egg yolks
- 300g flour "00"
- 110g butter
Prepare the cream first, so it has plenty of time to cool down before you need to pipe it.
- Cut the vanilla pod down its length, scrape out the seeds put these in a pan along with the pod.
- Pour the milk and cream in the pan.
- Warm everything up until it's boiling, then take off the heat and put to one side, removing the vanilla pod.
- In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolks with the sugar, then add the cornflour to this mix and combine thoroughly.
- Gradually pour the eggs/sugar/cornflour mix into the pan with the milk; put the pan back on mid-temperature flame and whisk constantly until it's thickened
- Pour this custardy mixture in a bowl (pref. glass), cover it with a film and store in the fridge - it needs to cool down a lot
Then, time to prepare the pastry.
- Pour the water into a large pan
- Add the butter (in small chunks) to the pan with the water, adding a pinch of salt
- Put the pan on a medium heat and combine everything using a wooden spoon
- Once the butter has melted and the water is boiling, pour all the flour in and keep mixing
- Once it is all combined you can remove it from the pan.
- Put this mixture into a bowl and make a well in the middle
- In a separate bowl, mix the 6 eggs with the 2 yolks, then little by little, pour this into the well of your mixture and combine.
- Now be very patient: whisk, whisk and whisk until the mixture becomes smooth-ish! A kitchen aid or electric whisker is very useful at this point.
- Once smooth, put into a pastry bag.
If you want to bake the pastries
- Cover a tray with greaseproof paper
- With the pastry bag, create "circles" with the pastry across the tray
- Bake at 200C, putting the tray on the lowest part of the oven. After 10-15 minutes they should be golden-brown and ready to take out again.
If you want to deep fry the pastries
- Cut out lots of small 'squares' of greaseproof paper
- With the pastry bag, create "circles" of the pastry on each square
- In a large pan, pour a good measure of sunflower oil (enough to deep fry)
- Check if it's the right temperature (there's a trick here: just dip a toothpick every now and again and see if the part within the oil is 'sizzling': this means the temperature is right!)
- Then dip the squares into the oil and the pastries will start come away from the greaseproof. Slowly lift away the greaseproof paper as you dunk each one so that only the pastries are in the oil.
- They're ready once they are golden brown all over.
- Wash your pastry bag ..
- Once clean, put the cream in
- Squeeze the cream on top of each pastry
- Dust with icing sugar before serving