; zeppole [ZEHP-poh-leh] An Italian doughnut-type pastry that's typically fried but can also be baked. Zeppole can have various fillings such as custard, honey and almonds, jelly or a sweetened ricotta mixture. Unfilled styles are typically topped with cinnamon-sugar, powdered sugar or honey. Zeppole are also called Saint Joseph's Day Cakes because of their association with the Feast of St. Joseph (La Festa di San Giuseppe), which is celebrated on March 19. On this day they're sold by myriad street vendors in the Naples region (where zepolle originated) and in Italian sections of some American cities. Savory zeppole, such as those with anchovies, are also popular.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.