Deep-fried potato puffs

Deep-fried potato puffs


40 fritters
Laura Edwards

It is a tradition in various Italian regions to make these deep-fried pastries, zeppole, at the time of the Festa di San Giuseppe or St Joseph’s Day (19 March). My mother used to make quantities of these, which would promptly be devoured by us children. They can be sweet or savoury, and made of bread dough, choux pastry dough, or a gnocchi dough as here. They are eaten with prosciutto in Emilia-Romagna, where they are called gnocco fritto.

Should you prefer the sweet version of this recipe, omit the anchovies and fry them plainly; after draining, dust them with caster sugar (superfine sugar).


Quantity Ingredient
700g italian ‘00’ flour
450g potatoes, boiled until tender, peeled and mashed
15g fresh yeast, dissolved in water
10g salt
1 medium egg, beaten
milk, as required, to obtain a soft dough
olive oil, for deep-frying
2 x 50 tins of anchovy fillets in oil, drained


  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, mashed potato, yeast, salt and egg. Add just enough milk – probably about 2–4 tablespoons – to obtain a soft dough. Mix well, then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place to rise for 1 hour. When the mixture has risen, it should be quite dense and thick.
  2. In a large deep frying pan, add enough olive oil so that the pan is a third full. Place over a medium heat. To test whether the oil has reached the perfect frying temperate, drop a small piece of bread in. If it fries and goes golden, the oil is ready.
  3. Take a tablespoonful of mixture, push an anchovy into the centre and enclose it to create a container. Fry in the hot oil until golden on both sides. Drain on absorbent kitchen paper, while you cook the remaining mixture and the rest of the anchovies. Serve the fritters immediately as they are made.
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