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Italian Zeppole with Ricotta

Let’s celebrate the last day of Carnival with these soft and perfectly sweet Italian fried doughnuts made with ricotta cheese and infused with hint of orange aroma

Just in time for Mardi Gras! I present you with these Italian zeppole – golden and delicate doughnuts made with ricotta cheese and a dash of orange zest. 
This is one of the many ways Italians celebrate Carnival, in addition to baking fritelle, chiacchere, and castagnole (just to name a few of the typical desserts), dressing up in colorful costumes, and partying all night. 
This year I will not be wearing my Venetian mask (I would definitely be one of a kind here in Los Angeles). But I will surely indulge in one (… or a few) of these zeppole and let my taste buds have a little party :)


The bad news.
Zeppole are fried (I know, I know… but it’s a holiday!) and are so irresistible that it will be really hard to stop at just one (sorry, your waistline will not be very happy with you!). Hint: bake two batches of these or you’ll have to make them again soon.
The good news. 
Today’s recipe is one of the easy way to make zeppole. This recipe only requires few ingredients (see the short list below) and about half hour of your time. 

Sound and look perfect, right?!? For this recipe I use baking powder and not yeast. So you can mix the ingredients, drop the dough in frying oil, wait for them to turn golden and crispy on the outside. Sprinkle with sugar and devour as fast as you can!

Enjoy :)

PREPARATION

    In a large bowl add 1 cup of whole milk ricotta, two eggs, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract.

    Mix well, until smooth.

    Add the finely grated zest of 1 orange, 1/4 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder and a pinch of salt (about 1/4 teaspoon).

    Mix until combined.

    Heat the oil in a large enough pan for frying. You can test when it reaches the right temperature by placing a wooden spoon inside. The oil is ready when you see tiny bubbles form around the spoon.
    Drop the batter by tablespoons in the oil. Fry for a few minutes until golden on all sides.

    Depending on the size of your pan, you might need to fry them in batches (do not over crowd the pan). Dry the zeppole on paper towel.
    Sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving. Best served when still warm!
    Enjoy :) 

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