Gluten Free Dairy Free Apple Cinnamon Zeppole Recipe
Almost every culture and region has a version of sweetened, fried dough; they are called doughnuts, fritters, or zeppole. I call them happy pills. It is simply impossible to be downhearted or depressed when eating these crispy little nuggets of apple-laced goodness topped with glistening cinnamon sugar.
Who needs Prozac when the simple act of biting into these gluten free, dairy free apple cinnamon zeppole can transport you to your happy place? Unlike mind altering psychotropic drugs, these doughnuts do not come with any severe warning labels listing side effects such as thoughts of suicide, sexual dysfunction, and death. The only thing you may have to be warned against is obsessive finger licking and the inability to quit smiling.
Basically a dairy and gluten free pate choux batter with some grated apple stirred in, these zeppole take just a few minutes to whip up but should really be eaten immediately. Have all the ingredients measured out and ready as the batter comes together quickly.
A deep fry or candy thermometer is helpful for controlling the temperature of the oil but if you don’t have one just test the oil by dropping a bit of batter into it. The batter should start to sizzle immediately but not burn.
When making the batter you may think that you have done something wrong or I am an idiot for giving you this recipe as it doesn’t look real pretty until it is fully done. The oil separates from the dough in the pan after the flour has been added, it gets clumpy as you add the eggs and basically looks like a big ‘ole mess. But keep the faith, let your mixer do its thing and you will be rewarded with a mouthful of bliss.
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar – use divided
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 large eggs – plus 1 egg yolk
- ½ cup grapeseed oil
- 1 cup coconut milk – shake can well before measuring
- 1 pinch kosher or sea salt
- 1 cup sweet rice flour
- 1 large or 2 medium apples – peeled cored and grated (about 1 ½ cups)
Mix 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar with the cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.
Crack the eggs and yolk into a liquid measuring cup or pitcher.
In a medium sauce pan, combine the oil, coconut milk, ¼ cup sugar and salt and bring just to a boil over medium heat. Stir to try and incorporate the oil into the coconut milk. It won’t completely happen but don’t worry. As soon as the mixture comes to a boil turn the heat down to medium-low and dump in the sweet rice flour all at once. Stir quickly and in one direction with a wooden spoon. The liquid will start absorbing the flour and will form into a ball. Continue cooking and stirring for 1 or 2 minutes. You will see that some of the oil is separating out from the dough, that’s fine.
Dump the dough (separated oil and all) into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat the dough for about 1 minute on medium speed to cool it off slightly. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. As you are incorporating the eggs some oil may splatter to the sides of the bowl and it will look like a lumpy, gooey mess. No worries! Continue mixing until the dough is uniformly smooth, thick and shiny, about 3 – 5 minutes. Stir in the grated apple.
Line a plate with paper towels. Heat about 1 ½ inches of oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven to 325 degrees. Drop the dough into the hot oil using a small ice cream scoop or two spoons, about 1 tablespoon of dough per zeppole. Do not over crowd the oil, depending on the size of your pan only fry about 6 at a time to keep the oil temperature even. Turn the zeppole over in the hot oil a few times with a slotted spoon for even browning. Fry for about 4 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove zeppole to paper towel lined plate with slotted spoon to drain while finishing the rest. Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar and serve immediately.
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