The sfinge, aka zeppole, is an Italian donut. These little round donuts are super simple to make, which is great, because they disappear as soon as they are sugared. While delicious any time of the year, sfinges are particularly abundant on March 19, St. Joseph’s Day.
On a whim, I made a batch Sunday evening using my husband’s grandmother’s recipe, which is wonderfully short, yet absolutely delicious. My own grandmother’s recipe is much longer and requires resting the batter. The sfinges I am most accustomed to are rolled in powdered sugar, although cinnamon-sugar is a delicious alternative. They are scrumptious served with homemade strawberry preserves and whipped cream and/or ice cream.
Sfinges Printer-friendly recipe
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
2 tablespoons sugar
1 cup self-rising flour
Oil for frying
Powdered sugar for rolling
Before mixing the ingredients, add oil to a heavy pot, so that oil is about 3″ deep. Turn heat on medium-high; the oil needs to reach 375 degrees before you can fry the sfinges.
In a brown paper bag, measure in 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. If you don’t have a bag, just measure the powdered sugar into a bowl big enough to allow you to roll and coat the sfinges. Set aside.
In a medium size bowl, beat egg, milk, vanilla, and nutmeg until combined. Stir sugar into milk mixture. Add flour to milk mixture and stir until just combined. The batter will be thick.
Once oil is at 375 degrees, use a small cookie scoop to drop dollops of batter into oil. The batter will form an circular shape and float to the top of the oil. As the sfinges cook, they turn themselves over (I know, totally cute, yes?) Be careful not to drop too many into the oil at once; I used a 5.5 quart dutch oven, and I fried 6 at a time. The temperature of the oil should not exceed 375 degrees, but don’t let it drop too low, either. Allow the sfinges to cook until deep golden brown and cooked through. Immediately drop into powdered sugar, tossing to cover. Remove from powdered sugar to a platter. This made 18 sfinges, and I’ve doubled the recipe without an issue.