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
Fill a heavy-bottomed deep saucepan halfway with canola oil. Heat the oil to 375ºF degrees.
Meanwhile, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
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.
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.
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.
Jennifer Perillo is the Consulting Food Editor at Working Mother magazine, and a regular a contributor to Relish Magazine and FoodNetwork.com. 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).