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- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 large egg
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened, divided
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- Warm water to 110° F, then combine with yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and let sit until mixture becomes foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Add flour, ricotta, egg, orange zest, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and attach bowl to stand mixer fitted with dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed until the dough forms.
- Gradually add 1/2 cup butter, one tablespoon at a time, occasionally stopping mixer to scrape down sides of bowl. Increase speed to medium and beat until dough is cohesive, smooth, and glossy, about 4 minutes. If necessary, scrape dough from hook and sides of bowl. Remove bowl from mixer, cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperate for 2 hours.
- Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a smooth ball. Divide into 12 equal portions and roll into tight balls. Place on a baking sheet and let sit covered at room temperature for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, close crisping lid. Preheat the unit by selecting AIR CRISP, setting the temperature to 360°F, and setting the time to 3 minutes. Select START/STOP to begin.
- Melt remaining 1/4 cup butter. Brush half the dough balls with melted butter and place them in the Cook & Crisp™ Basket. Reserve unused butter.
- Once unit has preheated, place basket in pot. Close lid. Select AIR CRISP, set temperature to 360°F, and set time to 12 minutes. Select START/STOP to begin.
- Cooking is complete when zeppole are deep golden brown. Remove them from basket, brush again with melted butter, and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.
- Repeat steps 6 through 8 with remaining dough balls. Serve warm.
A tip from the Ninja® Kitchen Team
It's important the warm water is not too warm or it will damage the yeast and prevent rising. If the water is too cool, it will take longer for the yeast to activate. Confectioners’ sugar is the most common topping for these treats, but a mixture of cinnamon and granulated sugar is also delicious. You can also serve these with melted chocolate for dipping.