You will love this for dessert or just a snack…pillowy soft dough with raisins that is deep fried until golden beautiful then rolled in sugar while still warm. Yummy!!! Where my parents come from, we call these delicious treats “crespelle” while other regions of Italy call them “zeppole”. People make them into different shapes and sizes so it’s whatever you like or maybe just let the dough take on its own character as it cooks. There are several variations of crespelle or zeppole but we thought we would highlight this recipe that we have grown up with.
This isn’t a difficult recipe but it goes much smoother if you have a helping hand when cooking them. The dough is quite soft and sticky so it helps to have one person putting the dough in the oil and another person turning them as they brown. They cook very quickly too so pay attention to the color & roll them in sugar while they are still warm! Be very careful…they are addicting!
One of our blog followers, Catherine, requested this recipe at the launch of our blog and we were happy to oblige and invited her to help out Nonna Caterina and Nonna Paola in making (and eating) them! Check out her video on our facebook page to see what she had to say about her experience!
Where we live here in Brantford, we have several cultural events and patron saint day celebrations throughout the year and often you will find these available during the festivities. It is quite a sight to see the assembly line of volunteer nonnas and nonnos preparing them! What’s great about this recipe is that it makes quite a few depending on the size. They are best eaten the day they are made or can be wrapped properly in airtight food safe containers and frozen then reheated in the oven when needed. Go ahead and try making your own crespelle with raisins and let us know what you think!
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
- 2 large white potatoes boiled and well mashed and cooled
- 3 large eggs slightly beaten
- 1/4 cup of butter
- 1 1/4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 11 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup raisins (optional)
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups lukewarm water
- Vegetable oil for deep frying
- White granulated sugar for rolling
- Dissolve 2 tablespoons of sugar into 1 cup of lukewarm water. Add 1 teaspoon of yeast and stir to dissolve. Set aside until yeast mixture starts to foam.
- In a large bowl or container, add the cooled and mashed potatoes, eggs, butter and 1 1/4 tablespoons vegetable oil.
- Add the prepared yeast mixture.
- Add 1 teaspoon salt to the flour and add all of this to the potato mixture.
- Add the raisins if using.
- Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough. While constantly beating the dough with your hands (by grabbing and lifting the dough), add the water a little at a time with your hands to the dough. You want to continue this until you have a very uniform, soft and sticky dough (about 10 minutes) (you may or may not use all of the water to get to this stage).
- Now cover the dough with plastic and let it sit until it has doubled in size.
- Once it has doubled in size, beat it down again then set aside and let it rise to double one more time.
- Measure the oil into a deep frying pan to a depth of about 3 inches. Using a deep fry thermometer, heat the oil to 350 degrees F
- Dip your hands into a separate bowl of room temperature oil before grabbing a small quantity of dough, stretch it out slightly and very carefully place into the hot oil. Turn the crespelle a couple of times and cook until they are deep golden in colour and have puffed up (this will take about 2 minutes). Cook only 3 or 4 at a time depending on the size of the crespelle and the size of the pan.
- Once they are cooked, remove them with a slotted spoon, letting any oil drain back into the pan, then place them onto a paper towel lined pan.
- While still warm, roll them in sugar (to your liking) and place in a platter for serving.