- Dish type
- Pies and tarts
- Choux pastry
A popular pastry that can be found in the cuisine throughout the Italian peninsula is the zeppole. Other names it has include 'St. Joseph's Day Cake', 'sfinge', and 'Bigne di S. Giuseppe', a name particular to Rome. It is a doughnut; a light, deep-fried ball of dough that is topped with powdered sugar and often filled with either custard, jelly, a butter-honey mixture or a pastry cream done in cannoli.
Malta Island, Malta
6 people made this
- For the sweet choux pastry
- 100g butter
- 250ml water
- 2 teaspoons fine caster sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 125g plain flour
- 2 large eggs
- zest of 1 lemon, finely chopped
- zest of 1 orange, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon marmalade
- oil for deep frying
- For the ricotta mixture
- 600g ricotta cheese
- 100g icing sugar
- 3 teaspoons anisette liqueur
- 60g dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 80g chopped almonds
- 60g chopped candied peel
- honey as needed
MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:20min ›Extra time:10min setting › Ready in:1hr
- For the sweet choux pastry: In a pan, melt the butter in water together with sugar and salt, on low heat. When butter is melted, bring mixture to the boil.
- Remove from heat and add the flour, mixing just enough to incorporate into the liquid.
- Return the pan to a low heat and stir gently until the mixture leaves the side of the pan (about 1 minute).
- Once again, remove the mixture from heat and allow to cool.
- In the meantime, lightly beat the egg and add the finely chopped lemon and orange zest.
- When mixture is cool enough, slowly incorporate the eggs into the mixture, beating with a wooden spoon.
- Add enough eggs for the mixture to be glossy and flow back when pushed.
- Heat the oil in a frying pan or deep fryer over medium high heat, and deep fry spoonfuls of the mixture until evenly browned all over. Remove to drain on kitchen paper.
- For the ricotta mixture: Beat the ricotta with the icing sugar and anisette liqueur until you have a light creamy mixture.
- Add the dark chocolate, 60g of the almonds and candied peel and mix well. Reserve the rest of the almonds.
- For the assembly: Slit the deep fried pastries and coat with honey, then dip in the reserved almonds. Pipe or spoon the ricotta mixture into the pastries and serve while crispy.
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"I am of Sicilian descent and my Grandmother worked in a family bakery in Cefalù. That bakery is still in existence, but what I am looking for is a recipe for something called 'sfinge'. It is similar to a zeppole".
'U sfinciuni', or sfincione in ltalian, is a soft, thick, scented and tasty snack. If you visiting Palermo then sfincione is true gastronomic obligation.
It is prepared with a base of flour, combined with olive oil to which a condiment, typically anchovies and fresh tomatoes, are added having been blanched in oil and copious onions.
You will see them presented in round or rectangular shapes for sale on fixed metal stalls or from the small three-wheeled Ape vans beloved of Palermitani.
Sfinge is no real relation to sfinciuni so we are pleased and grateful, therefore, for a reply from one of our readers who clears things up. We quote:
"Hey there. I gotta tell you. The question about sfinge is answered wrong! Sfinge is different from Sfincone.
I know what she is talking about!! I am a Siclian and have spent time there. I make both.
As a child my mother made Sfinge. What you discribed was Sfincone. A sort of sponge pizza with anchovies, onions and a bread crumb topping.
Sfinge is like Zeppoli. It is a simple yeast batter dropped into fat, fried crisp and dusted with sugar. Some Sicilians even put a small anchovy in the middle it is a salty and sweet taste.
My father who is 92 and grew up there.. he likes his that way.
I would give you the recipe, but I only have it from memory. It is flour, egg, salt, sugar water and yeast. It is slightly thicker than pancake batter..when raised a good hour or two. Then dropped into hot fat.. about a teaspoon.. Hope that clears it up!!
Indeed it does and it's obvious the stray anchovy pulled us in the wrong direction! Always take great care with pesce azzurro.
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