Zeppole di San Giuseppe d'author: the recipe (gluten-free and lactose-free, delicious) by Nicola Di Lena, Pastry Chef of the ** Michelin Silk Restaurant in Milan
Nicola Di Lena, among the best pastry chefs in Italy according to Gambero Rosso's Confectioners and Confectionery Guide 2020, he is a precise, shy and nice guy, who works alongside chef Antonio Guida since 2006, when they began their collaboration with the Il Pellicano hotel in Porto Ercole.
Born in Switzerland to a Sicilian mother and an Apulian father, while still a student he took advantage of every school holiday to reach his pastry chef uncle Agatino, in Sicily, and to observe his every move in secret to learn the trade. Add to this an energetic (paternal) grandmother who raised him to the sound of taralli, focaccia and every type of regional delicacy and who was his real inspiration.
What you find below is, in fact, the traditional zeppole recipe that Nicola learned from his grandmother and that he revisited for his wife, Alessia, celiac and lactose intolerant.
It is a simple recipe that tastes of family and love, which allows us to enhance time, tradition and important ties especially in this very particular moment.
Zeppole di San Giuseppe gluten-free and lactose-free
For about 20 wedges with a diameter of 7 cm
200 g of water
100 g lactose-free butter
160 g gluten-free cake flour
170 g of whole eggs (about 4/5 eggs, if you use normal flour 3/4 are enough)
5 g of salt
Boil water, butter and salt together, add the sifted flour and keep on the heat for at least 10 minutes, until it separates well from the spoon, then put the mixture in a bowl. Take a whisk and slowly incorporate the eggs, mixing everything well.
Insert the obtained pasta into a star-shaped pastry bag and spread it on sheets of baking paper, drawing circles of about 6 or 7 cm in diameter.
Heat well (about 180 ° / 185 °) plenty of sunflower oil in a large and large pan and dip the zeppole on the baking paper (tip: you can dip the baking paper directly in the oil, you will see that the dough will come off by itself) and turn them halfway through cooking.
When they are golden brown, drain the zeppole and place them on a plate with paper towels, leaving them to cool.
Lactose and gluten free pastry cream
1 liter of lactose-free milk
200 g of sugar
100 g corn starch
1 vanilla bean
1 lemon peel
Heat the milk with the sugar, lemon zest and vanilla pod. In the meantime, mix the cornstarch well with the eggs. Take a small part of the milk and incorporate it into the mixture just prepared, then pour the mixture obtained into the remaining milk and continue stirring, always on the fire. When it starts to thicken, let it boil for 5/10 minutes on low heat and remove it from the heat to put it in a bowl covered with a sheet of contact film, so that the boring crust does not form.
When the cream is cold, remove the lemon and vanilla and whisk for a few minutes so that it becomes homogeneous and fine. Pour the cream into the piping bag and stuff the zeppole (abundantly, we are in Puglia!).
If desired, sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon, alternatively you can pass the freshly fried zeppole in granulated sugar and cinnamon.
Finally, fill the zeppola also on the outside at the top and place a canned black cherry on top.
Tip: you can also prepare the dough the day before by storing it in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
Happy father's day!
Text by Romina Ciferni