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Mini Zeppole with Caramel Marsala Dipping Sauce

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 40 min
  • Active: 40 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Vegetable oil, for frying

1 cup all-purpose flour 

2 tablespoons granulated sugar 

2 teaspoons baking soda 

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1 cup ricotta 

1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

2 large eggs, lightly beaten 

Caramel-Marsala Dipping Sauce:

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter 

1/4 cup half-and-half

1/4 cup sweet Marsala wine 

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting 


Special equipment:
a deep-frying thermometer
  1. For the zeppole: Place a large, wide pot filled with 2 inches of oil over medium-high heat and bring to 340 degrees F on a deep frying thermometer.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the ricotta, orange zest, vanilla and eggs and stir until just combined.
  3. Working in batches, carefully add small spoonfuls (about 1 tablespoon) of the batter to the hot oil and fry until puffed and golden brown all over, 1 to 2 minutes per batch; transfer to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet to drain. Return the oil to 340 degrees F between batches.
  4. For the dipping sauce: Add the brown sugar, butter and half-and-half to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir to combine, then cook until the sugar is melted and the mixture starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Add the Marsala and cook, stirring, until reduced, about 5 minutes, or until the desired consistency is reached.
  5. Dust the zeppole generously with confectioners' sugar and serve warm with the dipping sauce.