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Espresso zeppole with Marsala mascarpone

Australian Gourmet Traveller Italian dessert recipe for espresso zeppole with Marsala mascarpone.

By Emma Knowles
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 20 mins cooking plus standing, proving
  • Serves 24
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Espresso zeppole with Marsala mascarpone
Thomas Keller has a witty take on coffee and doughnuts at his restaurant, The French Laundry. This is similarly inspired. Store the espresso sugar in a dry environment or it will solidify.


  • 125 ml pouring cream (½ cup)
  • 60 ml milk (¼ cup)
  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
  • 225 gm plain flour, plus extra for dusting (1½ cups)
  • 1 tbsp dried yeast
  • 30 gm caster sugar
  • For deep-frying/greasing: vegetable oil
Espresso sugar
  • 200 gm caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp espresso
Marsala mascarpone
  • 375 gm mascarpone
  • 60 ml Marsala
  • 40 gm pure icing sugar, sieved (¼ cup)
  • Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean


  • 1
    For espresso sugar, combine 80gm caster sugar and espresso in a saucepan and stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, cook until syrup reaches 160C on a sugar thermometer (5-6 minutes), then remove from heat. Pour onto a lightly oiled baking tray and stand until set (20-30 minutes). Break into large pieces, then process in a food processor until finely ground. Transfer to an airtight container until required. Just before cooking zeppole, combine in a bowl with remaining sugar, spread on a tray and set aside.
  • 2
    Combine cream, milk and vanilla seeds in a small saucepan and warm over low heat until lukewarm (30 seconds-1 minute). Meanwhile, combine flour, yeast, sugar and a pinch of fine salt in the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a dough hook, and stir to combine. Add cream mixture, knead until soft and smooth (2-3 minutes), transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (35-40 minutes).
  • 3
    Knock back dough, divide into walnut-sized pieces and roll into smooth balls, then place on a lightly floured tray, cover with a tea towel and stand until risen (30 minutes).
  • 4
    Meanwhile, for Marsala mascarpone, whisk ingredients in a bowl until smooth and combined, refrigerate until required.
  • 5
    Preheat oil in a deep-fryer or deep-sided saucepan to 180C. Deep-fry zeppole in batches, turning occasionally, until golden and cooked through (3-4 minutes; be careful as hot oil may spit). Drain with a metal sieve, toss in espresso sugar and serve hot with Marsala mascarpone.
  • undefined: Emma Knowles