Friday, October 9, 2015

Pumpkin Zeppole – You “Can” Do It

It may sound strange, but the only way to mess up this pumpkin zeppole, is by using a fresh pumpkin. Like virtually every other pumpkin dessert, I think using pure canned pumpkin will give you the best results. That really is the trick to this Halloween treat.

If you take a pumpkin, roast it, and scoop out the flesh, it may look similar to the canned stuff, but you’ll be surprised at how little sweetness and flavor it actually has. It sounds like a great way to go, but in reality, it is not. And what about “sugar pumpkins;” that smaller variety of pumpkin specially grown for cooking? They are definitely better, but still, it’s been my experience that even those don’t have as concentrated a flavor.

Like all things cooking, people will vehemently disagree with me, and claim they can achieve results that are just as good using fresh, but even so, that’s a lot of work for something that’s basically the same. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide.

By the way, if you can't get canned pumpkin, roasted butternut squash (just like we did for this soup) will work very nicely!

Special thanks to my old friend, Jennifer Perillo, for this recipe was adapted from one of hers. I’m not above stealing a recipe from total stranger, but it’s nice knowing the foundation for a recipe is coming from someone who actually knows what they’re doing. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 24-30 depending on the size:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup (8 ounces) fresh ricotta cheese, well-drained
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree (or roasted butternut squash)
1/4 cup white sugars
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Canola oil for frying

23 comments:

Carl Wright, III said...

Thanks Chef John. My wife and I are doing a cooking weekend as she has friday saturday and sunday off. We are each picking 2 of your recipies and preparing to have fun. We both love your videos. Keep up the wonderful entertainment.

Tessa vdL said...

They don't sell canned pumpkin in my country :(

William DiStefano said...

feels like you've been frying a lot...

Glenriven said...

These look delish. A nice reason to use up oil. Start with bacon egg doughnuts, then these, then chicken gravy croquettes. Then UN-baked chicken wings. Every dime you paid for the oil was paid back in flavor, four times, and the deep fry craving is almost satisfied. Maybe slide in some southern fried Okra before the oil is finished. Fried up dark and crisp, Okra is like popcorn, better at room temp.

Luana Hemaloto said...

I was thinking the same thing Tessa - we don't have canned pumpkin here either.

Tardigrade said...

Japanese kabocha pumpkin has a beautiful intense pumpkin flavour when roasted or steamed. It can be a little hard to come by, but it has a green skin and a dense, thick flesh. It's often used for desserts in Japan cooked from fresh and it's the only pumpkin worth eating in my opinion.

Chris Allen said...

For whatever it's worth, many (not all, i.e. Libby's) canned "pumpkin" uses butternut or other squashes. So, if you don't have canned pumpkin available where you live consider using another type of winter squash.

Philip Tedeschi said...

What fryer is that? I am considering getting one, and that looks just about the right size.

Kelly Rondeau said...

Thank you so much for sharing!
I just made these for my family. I used fresh pumpkin and added a little extra cinnamon and a teaspoon of Pumpkin pie spice! They've almost eaten all 30 !
I wish I could show yah a picture of the finished product! Yum yum.

Reece Crump said...

It's interesting what you posted about the canned pumpkin being more flavorful, chef. My brother has reported the same thing, however, given that I had never heard of anyone making such a claim before- I assumed he was imagining it. My mother also told me that the pumpkin flavor of a soup I made wasn't strong enough- despite me using an ample amount of roasted fresh pumpkin. I'm convinced that you and my brother on to something regrinding canned vs fresh pumpkin.

b-pochild said...

This recipe sounds great but what if I wanted an apple flavor. What and how much would I use? Apple sauce, chunks, puree, pie filling....

Wanderlust said...

What a delicious recipe, Chef! I can feel the love here. Thanks for sharing!

Travis said...

Hey Chef John,
Do you think you could explain why canned pure pumpkin is better than doing it yourself? I can understand if they did something special, but i don't understand what the difference would be...

foodvideos said...

Amazing recipe. keep up the good work chef john

Roz Sa said...

for those who don't have access to pumpkin puree, try ebay!

Anthony Vaiana said...

Is there an nonalcoholic version?

rodentraiser said...

Does anyone know why we have to drop these off of a spoon instead of using say, a little ice cream scoop?

Aleksandra said...

Thank you for this recipe. My daughter has celiac disease so I'm always searching for moisture-rich recipes that I can adjust to be gluten free. This recipe seemed like a good candidate. I made it today using half store bought gluten free pastry flour and half home milled millet flour. They turned out great! Thank you!

joshua garcia said...

hey chef john i'm wondering if mascarpone cheese can be used to replace the ricotta cheese in this dish.

Audrey said...

Just made these as a practice run, since I want to enter them in the Thanksgiving dessert contest at work. Last year I one first place with a fresh apple cake. I have a feeling I will be in the top 3 with these as well! I tossed them in cinnamon sugar and they were amazing. Not really a pumpkin fan, but these did not have an overpowering taste of pumpkin, just enough. Thanks!

Katayoun said...

Chef John,
You were absolutely right! I CANNOT stop making these. They are SO good.
I even swapped in some strained homemade chunky applesauce (overnight) and swapped it for the pumpkin. While not as great as the original recipe, still fantastic. I really love your blog. Thank you!

Komb asi said...

can i use sweet potato instead of pumpkin?

joshua garcia said...

yes u can but they will be fried potato balls not zepple