Everyone loves zeppole served piping hot and dusted with powdered sugar. I give them a savory twist for a cocktail bite similar to French gougere, but with an Italian accent.
Thyme Parmesan Zeppole with Anchovy Aioli
For the Anchovy Aioli:
- 2/3 cup mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons anchovy paste
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the Zeppole:
- 1 cup flour
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 8 tablespoons 1 stick butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 eggs at room temperature
- Olive oil for frying
- For the aioli, whisk together the mayonnaise, anchovy paste, thyme, garlic, and salt in a medium bowl. Continue whisking while slowly drizzling the olive oil into the aioli to emulsify. Set aside while you make the zeppole.
- For the zeppole, combine the flour, 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, and the thyme in a small bowl. In a medium saucepan combine the butter, salt, and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil over medium heat. Take the pan off of the heat and stir in the flour mixture. Return the pan to the heat and stir continuously until the mixture forms a ball, for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Transfer the flour mixture to a medium bowl. Using an electric hand mixer on low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, incorporating each egg completely before adding the next. Beat the mixture until smooth. If not frying immediately, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- Pour 2 inches of oil into a large frying pan. Heat the oil over medium heat until a deep-fry thermometer reaches 350°F. Using a small ice-cream scoop or 2 small spoons, carefully drop the dough by tablespoons into the hot oil. Fry in batches, turning the zeppole once or twice until they are golden and puffed up, about 5 minutes.
- Drain on paper towels. Arrange the zeppole on a platter, sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, and serve immediately with the aioli for dipping.