Italian Traditions
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Recipe courtesy of Rosemarie Pisarra

Grandma Nancy's Zeppoli

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 42 min
  • Prep: 10 min
  • Inactive: 2 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 50 servings



  1. Dissolve the 3 packets of yeast in 2 cups of warm water. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes.
  2. Place flour and salt in large deep bowl. Add yeast mixture. The best way to mix this recipe is with your hands. Gradually add water while mixing until it resembles a loose doughy consistency, not too thick and not too watery. You may not have to use all the water. Make sure all the flour is combined. Transfer dough to a larger bowl. Cover with 2 medium size towels and put the bowl in a warm place for 2 hours to rest. After 2 hours, you will see that the dough has tripled in size and is ready for frying.
  3. Place 2 quarts of oil in deep pot (4 or 6 quart size). Heat oil until very hot. (Grandma did not use a thermometer. She knew the oil was ready by dropping a small amount of dough into the pot).
  4. You can use a large serving spoon, but we still use our hands, drop golf-ball size piece of dough into hot oil. Fry 1 side for a minute until golden brown. Turn over and fry for another minute. Drain in a large colander (Italians call it the scolapasta).
  5. Transfer drained zeppoli to large platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. When half the dough is used, combine the raisins with the remaining dough. Repeat the frying process until all the dough is used.
  6. Place the warm zeppolis on large serving platter. Serve with powered sugar.