Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Sicilian Springtime and Zeppole :-)

Buongiorno a tutti! We are now into spring and even though it has been a novelty this year to see so much snow in Sicily, it is a welcome change to see the nights becoming longer and the beautiful pink bougainvillea coming into bloom.

This is also an exciting time for Sicilian Connections as we have now launched our new online Art Store and are so happy to finally see the Sicilian images taking pride of place on our website. For those who have not yet seen the gallery at www.sicilianconnections.com, the photographs are by the very talented New York photographer Joe Zarba who fell in love with Sicily whilst searching for his ancestral family in Leonforte. The photograph below is one of my personal favourites and is of Bar Vitelli in the town of Savoca. This atmospheric establishment is where Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, met Apollonia's father in 'The Godfather' film.

I hope that all Italian fathers enjoyed their 'Festa del Papá' yesterday and that 'le zeppole di San Giuseppe' were eaten in abundance throughout the world :-) For anybody who is not familiar with 'zeppole', they are delicious deep-fried dough balls which can be eaten savoury (for example if filled with ricotta or anchovies) or sweet (eg. filled with cream or smothered with honey). They are traditionally eaten for the 'Festa di San Giuseppe' which is celebrated on the 19th March, but in Sicily, where they are also known as crispelli and sfingi, they are sold throughout the year, especially throughout the summer celebrations. I shall leave you to look at the recipe for ricotta crispelli and to enjoy the gorgeous 'primavera'!

A presto - Debra :-)

                                             Le Zeppole di San Giuseppe/ Crispelli


Vegetable oil for frying
1 cup of flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 pinch salt
1 and a half teaspoons of white sugar
Quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract
Icing sugar for dusting

1) Heat oil in a deep-fryer to 190 degrees (375 degrees F)
2) Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a saucepan. Stir in the eggs, ricotta and vanilla and mix gently over a low heat until combined.
3) Drop carefully into the hot oil a few at a time and fry until brown (about 3 minutes).
4) Drain and dust with icing sugar.

Note: In Sicily, the ricotta is usually placed into the middle of the batter but the above method is easier for home baking.