Have you ever tried the fried dough found at all the Italian feasts? Our family calls them Trc’niegl (as in the town my Dad and Grandparents came from) but they are generally known as Zeppole. When made at home they are way better than the ones that are from the feast (not that I turn those away).
You’re probably wondering how we pronounce Trc’niegl, so here it is (sorta): Therch-eh-nee-lyee (the y is pronounced as a consonant not as eye). There is a more official recipe in the town we came from for making these using potato (I’ll likely share that a another time). My family never used that recipe and my Grandmother used the same recipe she used for making homemade pizza. My Grandmother’s recipe was never written down, so now we use my hubby’s pizza dough recipe.
Other differences between Trc’niegl and the well known Zeppole is that we use granulated sugar rather than powdered sugar and we make them into shapes (see the photo below) rather than just a ball shape. I don’t mind the powdered sugar but I use the granulated sugar when I make them at home.
In other news, one warm week and the snow and ice has receded wonderfully. Yay!
Yield: 9 to 10 servings Cook Time: 4 minutes
- 1 3/4 to 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons Rapid Rise Yeast
- 1 cup water, warmed to 130 to 140 degrees
- 1 to 2 tablespoons oil
- oil for frying (I used olive oil but it’s not the usual oil used for frying)
- granulated sugar to sprinkle on fried dough (substitutions, powdered sugar as in the Italian feast version)
Step 1: For the dough: Begin by warming a large ceramic bowl by filling it with hot water for a few minutes. Pour out the water and dry bowl with a clean cloth. Add 1 3/4 cup of flour, salt, sugar and yeast to the bowl. Mix combined ingredients.
Step 2: Heat water to 130 to 140 degrees (or follow the directions on the yeast you’re using) – this is about 1 minute 20 seconds in my microwave in a 1 cup glass measure. Pour the water around the outside of the flour mixture where it meets the bowl. With a wooden spoon, mix the ingredients to combine and the dough begins to come together. If the dough looks overly wet, add 2 tablespoons of flour at a time (but not more than the remaining 1/4 cup flour) and continue mixing until the dough forms a mass. The dough will be sticky. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil on the dough ball. Turn the dough ball over a couple of times so the oil coats it. Knead the dough for a few minutes.
Step 3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for one to two hours. Let the dough rise until doubled. If using my tip, it will double in 45 to 60 minutes. If not, it may take 1 to 2 hours.
Step 4: You don’t need a deep fryer per se, you can use a large and deep sauce pan. I used a 3 quart sauce pan. Add oil for frying to be 2 to 3 inches deep in the pan and heat to about 300 degrees. While the oil heats, prepare a clean workspace and sprinkle liberally with flour. Sprinkle your hands liberally with flour also. Divide the dough into 9 or 10 pieces. For each piece, form it into one of three shapes: create a rope about 3/4 inch thick and then create a circle, pressing the ends together to attach; create the same rope as before but overlap the ends about an inch from the end so there is a circle with two ends protruding out where they overlapped; create a flat piece of dough that is about 3 inches by 4 inches. Set the dough shapes on the floured work surface while the oil finishes heating.
Step 5: Begin frying the dough by carefully placing the first in the oil. There will be a lot of bubbling and the dough will float to the top after a few seconds. Add another but do not crowd too much. Fry for a few minutes until the bottom is a dark golden color. Turn dough over to fry the other side for a few minutes until the color is dark golden color. I like to make them dark to be sure that the inside is cooked through. No one wants a Trc’niegl that has uncooked dough in the middle. Transfer the cooked dough out of the oil, letting the excess drip off, onto a paper towel lined bowl. Sprinkle liberally with sugar. Repeat with the remaining dough. Best served hot but you can follow my tips if you have any left over.
Tips: If your house is chilly like mine always is and your dough doesn’t rise, you can boil a pot of water while preparing the dough and place the water and dough in a cold oven. The boiling water will create a warm moist environment in the oven for the dough to rise well. Leave the oven light on and it will add to the warming effect. I use this tip even during the warm weather months.
If you have any leftovers, place them in a plastic freezer bag and freeze until ready to use. When ready to use, defrost one by microwaving for 15 to 20 seconds and then toast in a toaster oven. If defrosting more than one, increase microwave and toaster oven time.
To simplify, you could substitute store bought pizza dough or frozen white bread dough, instead of making your own dough. Just defrost and let rise for an hour or two.
Our host this month is Rossella from Ma ch ti sei mangiato, and our theme is Italian Breads. For more bread recipes, visit the #TwelveLoaves Pinterest board, or check out last month’s mouthwatering selection of #TwelveLoaves Olive Breads! Are you a food blogger that would like to be a part of our bread baking group? Send an email to Lora at: cakeduchess @ aol.com (all attached).
- Calzone from A Baker’s House
- Ciabatta from Ma che ti sei mangiato
- Italian Easter Cheese Bread from Kudos Kitchen By Renee
- Lemon Brasadella Italian Coffee Cake from NinjaBaker.com
- Pane Bianco Filled with Tomato, Basil, and Garlic from Never Enough Thyme
- Pane di Genzano from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Pane di Pasqua (Italian Easter Bread) from Cake Duchess
- Pane Toscano (Tuscan Bread) from girlichef
- Parmesan Garlic Grissini from From My Sweet Heart
- Rosemary Red Onion Beer Bread from Shockingly Delicious
- Quick Focaccia Bread from Basic N Delicious
- Tuscan Lemon Quick Bread with Limoncello Glaze from Rhubarb and Honey
If you’d like to bake along with us this month, share your Italian bread using hashtag #TwelveLoaves!