Tag Archives: apple

THE Perfect Holiday Treat : Apple Zeppoles

I am so excited to share these with you.  Good things are even better when shared, right?  These little babies are so, SO yummy!

I think if my blog ends up being good and useful for one thing, I’d hope that it’s this recipe that gets put to use!

I made these Apple Zeppoles at work this last fall, and now over this holiday season I’ve made them (big batches) two weekends in a row.  Last weekend I cooked up more than 50 for a holiday get together with some friends, and they were a huge, HUGE hit!  Everyone really loves them.  Not to mention my husband who said, as I was cooking all these up and he had a couple, “Maybe we shouldn’t go anywhere…  We could just stay home and eat these.”  Ha!  Good suggestion, honey.  😉  So this weekend we had some friends over for a little dinner, and I had to make them again, of course.

Zeppoles are an Italian dessert like a small fritter or doughnut, and are made with a Pâte à Choux dough.  This pastry dough can be made sweet for lovely treats like profiteroles, or cream puffs, eclairs, beignets, or zeppoles; or it can be made savory for something like cheese popovers.

I started making choux pastry several years ago while working in restaurants, always using it to bake into profiteroles.  But over this past fall season I was having fun using apples in new yummy ways, and I realized how versatile this dough is and what an amazing little zeppole treat it can be turned into.

They’re so comforting and perfect for this time of year, all warm, soft and airy on the inside, with the outside all crisp and rolled in cinnamon and sugar.  If you haven’t made these before, or any choux pastry, don’t shy away!  It is really easy.  Frying up a big batch of the Apple Zeppoles does take a little time, but trust me it is very well worth it!

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::Apple Zeppoles::
(Adapted and modified from Giada’s Apple Zeppole)

  • 4-5 apples, or 3 c. peeled and grated apples, Granny Smiths work well
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. unsalted butter
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 2 c. AP flour
  • 8 eggs
  • Canola Oil for frying, can combine a little olive oil and/or vegetable oil with it
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar + 1-2 T cinnamon combined in a pie dish

In a large saucepan or deep frying pan, pour in the oil(s) to 2-3 inches deep.  Use a candy thermometer and heat the oil to 360 deg F over medium heat.  Crack all eggs into a bowl and set aside.  Grate all peeled and cored apples (food processor is quick).  I squeeze out the liquid in the grated apple by handfuls as I move it all to a bowl.  You can stir in a little lemon juice and set aside.

For pate choux: In a med/large saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, water, and salt and heat until it’s all melted and starts to boil.  Once it reaches a boil, take off heat and stir in two c. flour with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.  Keep stirring, set back on hot burner, for 2-ish minutes until the dough forms a ball and is all clumped together.

Transfer the mixture into the bowl of your stand mixer and using the paddle, turn on medium speed and add in the eggs one by one.  Incorporate each egg completely before adding the next.  Beat until smooth and slowly stir in the grated apples.

Set out a baking sheet with paper towels on it, have a soft-tipped tongs or a ‘spider’ ready to use.  Once the oil reaches 350 – 360 deg F, drop in spoonfuls of dough, about 1-2 T each, using a small cookie scooper or a tablespoon.  You want them about 2″ around once cooked.  They will drop to the bottom of the pan and pop back up.  I let each one pop up to the surface before adding the next.  Work in batches so not to over crowd the pan.  Let cook for about 2 minutes then flip over for another 2 min., using the nylon-tipped tongs or the spider.  They will puff up and be very golden brown when done, remove and lay onto paper towel lined baking sheet.  Roll them in the cinnamon + sugar while still warm.  Move them to a serving platter or baking dish and enjoy!

Notes:  Monitor the oil temperature while cooking, it will drop once all the dough is added in so you can turn the heat up a bit while they’re cooking.  If you want to cook up the remaining batter later, the oil can be cooled and set aside (covered) and the batter can be covered with plastic wrap and set in the fridge and used within four or five days.

So the method part is a little long-winded, but don’t run away from this thinking they’re too much work!!  I so hope you make these, you (along with your friends and family) will be glad you did.  =)

And if you so desire, make up some delicious whip cream to complete them:

::Cinnamon Whipped Cream::

1 to 1 1/2 c. whipping cream
3-4 T powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1-2 t cinnamon (optional: cardamom, nutmeg, allspice, ginger.. they’re all good here)

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, whip the cream to medium-stiff peaks.  Halfway through add in the powdered sugar, vanilla and cinnamon spices.  Set in a bowl and enjoy immediately or set in fridge for later.

Enjoy!  And I hope you’re having a lovely week-before-Christmas.  =)

Fall Canning: Apple Butter

Okay, NOW I think I’m done canning for the year.  I finished processing all of the thirty pounds of apples I got, and after doing two rounds of Applesauce, I cooked up a huge pot of Apple Butter and canned it all.  Ended up getting seven half-pints and two pint jars.

I’m so excited about this one, it was my first time doing a fruit butter.  It is so, SO yummy!  It cooks down and the sugars caramelize, the fruit butter gets very rich, thick, smooth, and a beautiful pinkish-golden color.  I could eat it in bowl-fulls spoonfuls.  🙂  It’s just a cinnamon-y taste of the Holidays that are just around the corner.  Seriously, when you have a spoonful you immediately think Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Now that I’ve canned pickled stuff: Pickled Beets, Dilly Beans, Dill Pickles, Cinnamon Applesauce, jam, jelly, and now finally fruit butter, I totally think that if I was only able to can one thing for the rest of my life, it would be this.  Mostly because I can’t get enough and you could incorporate it into some holiday baking, but also because it’s so easy to make and preserve.  Once it’s all in the pot, you just let it cook down, stirring occasionally and let it go for about two to three hours.  Since it’s all thick and sugary it stays very hot, so you don’t have to worry about the mixture cooling down too much before you get it in the jars and then get them sealed and in the water bath.

It’s so easy, so rich, flavorful, delicious, festive, and so worth making.  Even if you’re not canning, make a pot of it on the stovetop or crock pot, fill into a couple jars and they stay good refrigerated for up to two months!

I spread the Apple Butter on these crackers– the Organic Stoneground Wheat crackers- with cream cheese and it’s the perfect snack.  I did this last night and my husband was surprised how good they were, he kept coming back for more.  We thought they were like little bites of Apple Pie or Apple Turnovers.  =)

::Apple Butter::

8-9 lbs apples, peeled, cored, chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
3 c. apple cider
3 c. sugar
1-2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves

Place all chopped apples in a large non-reactive saucepan or dutch oven with the lemon juice and cider, and 1 c. water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to low, cover and simmer for about 30-40 min. until soft.

Move pot off of heat and puree with an immersion hand blender (or transfer it into a food processor in batches) until apple mixture is smooth.  Place back onto heat and add the sugar and spices.  Cook uncovered for about 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours over medium-low heat until the apple butter has reduced quite a bit, is thick and mounds on a spoon.  Stir often.

Fill hot, sterilized half-pint jars and leave 1/4″ headspace, remove air bubbles, wipe rims clean and seal the jars with the lids and rings, semi-tight.  Process the jars in boiling water bath for 10 min. (add 1 min. for every 1k’ elevation, I processed mine for 13-14 min.).  Store in a cool dry place for up to a year, if you can let it last that long!  Open jars are good refrigerated for up to two months.