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Fried Custard Dough-Balls or Bignè di San Giuseppe

These Dough-Balls Fritters without yeast are a traditional dessert typical of the Roman cuisine, the symbol of St. Joseph celebration on March 19, the Father’s Day in Italy. These sweet bignè are soft and fluffy. This recipe in other parts of Southern Italy may also be called “Sfinci di San Giuseppe” or even “Zeppole”. And on this note, here we leave you with a popular and wise old style saying: “E chi vuol bene mantenersi sano di frittelle mantenga il ventre pieno”….. It says it all! 🙂 So gooooood.

Ingredients for 10 people

  • 200 ml of Water
  • 50 grams of Butter
  • 100 grams of Flour
  • 60 grams of Sugar
  • 3 Eggs
  • a pinch of Salt
  • Oil for frying: prior to World War II olive oil was used for deep frying in Italy, but nowadays an all-purpose vegetable oil is often preferred; most cooks, Italian or otherwise, agree that canola oil or peanut oil is best for frying as these oils don’t leave an aftertaste
  • Grated lemon zest (better if organic)
  • Powdered Sugar

Preparation

  1. Heat the water with the butter and a pinch of salt when the water starts to boil, add the flour and stir immediately, not to make form clots, continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Let cool the mixture and then add the beaten eggs and sugar slowly.
  3. In a frying pan heat the oil and pour the mixture of the fritters with a tablespoon,  the fried dough balls will be ready when it will become golden. Once fried let cool on a paper towel to remove the excess oil.
  4. With the help of a pastry bag fill the fritters or bignè with custard, previously prepared, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve. You might be tempted to eat them all at once … they are exquisite;-)

NOTE: Prior to World War II olive oil was used for deep frying in Italy, but nowadays an all-purpose vegetable oil is often preferred; most cooks, Italian or otherwise, agree that canola oil or peanut oil is best for frying, as these oils don’t leave an aftertaste and they burn at higher temperatures, ideal for frying.

TIPS:

  • The fried dough balls or Bignè di San Giuseppe can be baked as well in the oven, we can consider this a light healthier version. Still quite delicious.
  • A delicious alternative is” la Zeppola” with custard and black cherry, this recipe you can fry or bake in the oven. The donuts are circular in shape with a central hole from 2 cm diameter and garnish covering them with custard over the cherries in syrup.

Posted by Nicoletta and Tiziana

The Real Italian Food. Buon Appettito!

Agrodolce

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