Zeppole di Piccino with Blood Orange Curd
1/2 ounce active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 1/2 cups lukewarm milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 1/2 pounds (about 5 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour, divided
2 cups granulated sugar, for rolling
Rice bran oil or similar oil, for frying
1. Sprinkle yeast over the warm water; let stand 5 minutes or until foamy.
2. Using an electric stand mixer, mix the yeast mixture, milk, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, eggs, butter and 1 cup flour for a few minutes at low speed. Beat in remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough no longer sticks to the bowl.
3. Change to hook attachment. Beat on medium-high for 5 minutes. Scrape the bowl; beat another 2 minutes.
4. Transfer dough to a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
5. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface. Lightly spread dough with your hands; use a rolling pin to gently roll it to a 1-inch thickness. Cut out circles with a 1 1/2-inch round cutter. Zeppole can be stored on a well-floured pan in the refrigerator for up to 18 hours.
6. Pour 2 cups sugar into a bowl.
7. In a deep, heavy bottomed pot, pour oil to a 2 1/2-inch depth. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Carefully drop in 6 to 8 zeppole; fry until medium brown. Gently flip the zeppole halfway through for consistent color, if they do not turn over on their own.
8. Using a slotted spoon, remove zeppole, drain them on paper towels, then toss them in sugar until coated. Serve warm with Blood Orange Curd for dipping.
Blood Orange Curd
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup blood orange juice
Zest of 1 blood orange
2/3 cup plus 4 teaspoons superfine sugar
5 egg yolks, whisked slightly just to break them up
1. Place the butter in a medium bowl and set aside.
2. Combine juice, zest and sugar in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, stirring until dissolved. Off heat, whisk a little of the hot mixture into the egg yolks to warm them. Pour them back into the pan and cook them over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or spoon (not a whisk), until it thickens and you see a bubble or two break through the surface.
3. Immediately strain the mixture into the bowl of butter. Whisk the butter into the mixture. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic directly against the surface. Cool, then store in the refrigerator, still covered with plastic, up to 1 week.
-- Michaela Hug-Nelsen, pastry chef, Piccino