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Australian Gourmet Traveller Italian dessert recipe for zeppole (doughnuts)

By Gourmet Food Team
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 15 mins cooking plus proving
  • Serves 24
  • Print
These fluffy doughnuts are favourites at street fairs in Italy, eaten hastily from paper bags, scattering sugar as you eat. Perfect served with a strong coffee.


  • 125 ml (½ cup) pouring cream
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) milk
  • 225 gm (1½ cups) plain flour
  • 1 tbsp dried yeast
  • 2 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 orange, finely grated rind only
  • For deep-frying: vegetable oil
Fennel sugar
  • 55 gm (¼ cup) raw sugar
  • 1 tbsp fennel seeds, lightly roasted
  • 1 tsp orange rind
  • 55 gm (¼ cup) caster sugar


  • 1
    For fennel sugar, combine raw sugar, fennel seeds and rind in a mortar, then using a pestle, grind to a fine powder, pass through a coarse sieve, discarding solids, add caster sugar and set aside.
  • 2
    Combine cream and milk in a small saucepan over low heat and warm gently to blood temperature.
  • 3
    Meanwhile, combine flour, yeast, sugar, rind and ½ tsp salt in a bowl, make a well in centre, then add cream mixture and stir to incorporate. Knead dough gently on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until doubled in size (35-40 minutes).
  • 4
    Roll dough into walnut-sized pieces and place on a baking paper-lined tray, cover with a tea towel, stand in a warm place and prove for another 20 minutes.
  • 5
    Heat oil in deep-fryer or deep saucepan to 180C. Fry doughnuts in batches until golden and crisp (3-4 minutes). Drain on absorbent paper. Toss in fennel sugar and serve immediately.
  • undefined: Gourmet Food Team