Ricotta Pumpkin Zeppole

March 17, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Serves 48
Author Notes

This recipe was born a few years ago around Thanksgiving. I had an abundance of fresh pumpkin puree and having been all "pied" out (yes, it happens even to the best of us), I decided to play around with this twist on those fried balls of dough so popular at every Italian feast I grew up going to in Brooklyn. While this is in the dessert category, you can even nix the confectioners' sugar and serve them with some savory tomato jam for a passed appetizer. And, while I'm a fan of homemade ricotta, you can use a fresh bought one and just make sure it is well-drained. —Jennifer Perillo

Test Kitchen Notes

Jennifer Perillo's zeppole are light, lovely little orbs of fried goodness. Surprisingly (to me anyway), they're also delightfully simple to prepare. I used my teaspoon-sized dough scoop and I was able to fry the whole bunch quite speedily. A couple notes: I used a very dry fresh goat cheese ricotta and this lead to a dough that was a bit drier-looking than the dough in Jennifer's pictures. They fried up nicely in spite of this, but if I were to do it again I'd double the amount of pumpkin puree, both to increase the moisture and make the zeppole more pumpkin-y. Yum! - arielleclementine —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 ounces fresh ricotta cheese, well-drained
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • Confectioners' sugar, for garnishing
  1. Fill a heavy-bottomed deep saucepan halfway with canola oil. Heat the oil to 375ºF degrees.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Add the ricotta cheese, pumpkin, eggs and vanilla extract to a medium bowl. Beat with a fork until mixed well. Pour over flour mixture and stir until wet and dry ingredients are incorporated, being careful not to overmix.
  4. Drop a scant teaspoon of the mixture at a time into the heated oil. Fry until light golden brown, about 30 seconds on each side. Drain on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. As you accumulate small piles of drained fritters, arrange them on a platter, sift powdered sugar on top and let guests start enjoying them while you continue frying the remaining dough.
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Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and She shares stories about food, family and life at her blog In Jennie's Kitchen and in her debut cookbook, Homemade with Love: Simple Scratch Cooking from In Jennie's Kitchen (Running Press 2013).

3 Reviews

yMarni February 19, 2012
Zeppole was awesome! I tried this recipe and wanted to let u know that my family enjoyed it!! :)
I have shared it in my blog as it may help my friends too!! :)
monkeymom March 18, 2010
Looks great! Love all the pictures.
arielleclementine March 17, 2010
oh yum! you clever girl!