Zippy Zeppoles - Italian Fried Doughnuts

Picture of Zippy Zeppoles - Italian Fried Doughnuts
Mama mia!  Mama would cringe if zeppoles were made this way.

Zeppoles are pieces of sweet fried dough that are coated with powdered sugar.  They are a staple of street vendors at outdoor fairs and a favorite although the prices have gone through the roof for what you get.  They are similar to beignets but you would probably pair this with a nice shot of espresso for dessert.

Not for the calorie conscious.
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Step 1: Semi-homemade...

Picture of Semi-homemade...
You can look up the recipe to make this from scratch but we will use a store-bought pancake mix.

Just like a bag of cement, no more drudgery in getting the right amount of binder, aggregate, and fines all conveniently packaged for you to just add water.

You will also need some breadmaking yeast.

A bit of vanilla flavoring, extract or you can steep your own vanilla bean if you want.

A frying pan or pot full of hot oil for frying.

CAUTION: Manipulating a camera, two spoons, a big bowl of batter, a smoking cauldron of boiling oil, and an open flame should be tried...at least once.  Be safe.

Step 2: The proof is in the...

Picture of The proof is in the...
You need to "proof" your yeast to make sure you can get it out of hibernation.

Use a cup or small bowl and put in about a 1/2 cup of lukewarm water.

Add a spoonful or two of yeast (yeah, I'm still working on using up that giant bag of yeast I got from the warehouse club grocery store, it actually may be a year or two since I keep it in the fridge). No need to be exact here.

Add a few spoons of sugar or flour (this is the food for the yeast to start on)

Mix thoroughly and put it aside for about a half an hour.

Your microorganism colony will grow by leaps and bounds.  It gives off carbon dioxide gas and will result in a foamy head on top of the liquid.  The fermentation process is also how alcohol is made.

If your yeast doesn't "proof", open up a new pouch of yeast and start over.

I love these types of doughnuts! Awesome!