Saturday, 19 November 2011

Pettole Della Mamma (sweet and savoury pettole-"zeppole") BUONISSIMA!

Some Winter mornings, she would get up early to make us breakfast. You knew it must  be cold outside when you could smell  yeast and hot chocolate and you could hear the loud sound of something being dropped into a hot pan. That smell... we always knew when our mother was making pettole!
She didn't often make sweet things for us and her "sweet repertoire" wasn't extensive, but everything she made was beautiful and tasted so good that, for as long as I live I will never forget!
What we call pettole in my part of Italy, is the equivalent of "zeppole" in Campania (and in America, too!) But I can tell you that "zeppole" is a small ring of choux pastry, fried or baked, decorated with three or four "rosettes" of piped thick custard and, on the custard, an amarena (preserved cherry.)  Zeppole they are sold in huge amounts on March 19th (St. Joseph's Day, also Father's Day, in Italy)
So, I will call what I made "Pettole" as, they are made from a simple, stringy, thick batter, its only ingredients: flour, yeast and water.
I made two kinds: sweet and savoury, today. You can just have plain pettole, which you serve on individual small plates with a little mound of sugar, for dipping. THEY ARE SO... SO... GOOD!
Basic pettole recipe:
200g plain, all purpose flour
pinch of salt
1/2 bag dried yeast
or 20g live yeast
warm water
oil for frying
Makes 10-15 small pettole
Easy: place the flour in a large bowl, make a well in the centre and add: salt and as much warm water as it takes to make a soft, stringy, but not watery mixture. A bit like a foccacia mix.
Mix using an electric whisk, or whatever you prefer, then place in a warm place, until it doubles up in amount.

In a frying pan, heat some oil (it can be vegetable oil, as it is lighter) then fry several tablespoonfuls of your batter at the time, taking care to turn over the little doughnuts, as they cook.

Taste to make sure the batter is cooked in the middle, then place each pettola onto a plate with plenty of kitchen paper, to absorb some of the oil. Pettole are really "Naughty, but Nice!"
Pettole ai Frutti di Bosco
(Sweet Pettole With Berries and sugar)

Basic mixture
A handful of berries of your choice
Sugar to decorate
As you can see, I added berries to my batter, then fried each little cake and finally decorated with pink sugar, edible pearls and some confetti (sugared almonds)

 My pettole turned a kind of golden lilac colour, because of the fruit. They looked so beautiful, though!

My sweet pink pettole

Pettole Salate agli Spinaci
(Savory Pettole with Spinach)

Basic mixture (batter)
Some fresh spinach (large handful)
Sprinkling of chives
Chilli Pepper
(as much as you like)
Vegetable oil
My lovely spinach is still live and kicking, outside, so I decided to add some to my basic pettole mixture. I cooked it, added some fresh chives, cress and some very hot Scottish Bonnet chilli peppers.

My savoury pettole turned out a lovely golden colour! Last week I used asparagus and cheese, instead. These are really lovely with tuna! Try them, they are good. Zeppole recipe to follow, sometime soon!

my savoury pettole you can be creative with!


  1. Ciao Anna!
    Can you see me??? I'm hidden in the mist :-)
    I'm not a big fan of fried food and sweets, but wouldn't mind to try one of your savoury Pettole!
    Hugs from a very cold Venice, I think we're 2 months ahead with this crazy weather!
    Michela x

  2. Hi Anna, I have never heard of pettole, but I love choux pastry. They both look delicious. Thankyou for your lovely comments on my post, enjoy the rest of your weekend, love Linda x

  3. Ciao Michela! I think I can just see the tip of your nose! Oh, yes! It is foggy in Venice! It may be cold in Venice, but, as they say, it is a city you should in Winter! And I believe that.

    I share your opinion regarding fried and sweet food. I don't fry food, but you will understand that this is a food blog and that sometimes I might post things for others, not just myself, or foods which are just traditionally Italian, never mind how rhet are cooked! Can I say, though, that pettole are a fantastic exception to my "don't eat fried food" rule? They are SO DELICIOUS! And I never eat them!

    Thank you for coming to say ciao, Michela. Mi fa tanto piacere vederti!


  4. Hi Linda! I am enjoying your lovely posts. I will post the original zeppole recipe (with choux pastry.) They can be baked, rather than fried, but are not as good when baked. But, of course, you don't yet know what I'm talking about, do you? All will be explained in due time...

    The weekend is nearly over! Hope you had a good one!


  5. Mmmh, Anna! You are seducing us with all these goodies! I have never heard of pettoles! They look fantastic. I showed them to my son and he suggested to make them tomorrow for dinner. His wish is my order! Another great inspiration from you, thank you! Ti saluto con affetto, Christa

  6. Christa, you will find that the best ones are just those made with plain batter, dredged and dipped in sugar! They are delicious hot. I love that taste of yeast!

    Until I made pettole recently I had not had them for years. In Cilento, though, at a certain restaurant near our house, you sometimes get a little plate of savoury pettole, really tiny ones, with courgette flowers in the mix! Like I said... you can use anything (try tuna... it's good!)



  7. I was thinking just the same when I came to the very words Naughty but Nice. :)

  8. Lindy, I remember the slogan "naughty bit nice" from a cream advert, I think, a few years back. Talking of which, I have over 2pts of double cream in the freezer, which my beautiful farmer friend Emily gave me a few weeks ago. I think she know all her cows by name! Her cream, milk and cheese are excellent. Don't know about butter, as I have never tasted any all my life!



  9. O this blog is full of goodies. I gain weight by reading!

    (Found your blog via Christa!)

    ♥ Franka

  10. Ciao Franka! Good to see you here! Yes, my blog is packed with goodies. I hope you enjoy reading through it and commenting whenever you feel like it! You are very welcome!

    PS: Italian women are not large (except one or two I know!) Where I come from we have a very healthy mediterranean diet. The sweets in this post are not really healthy, but... once a year you are allowed to be naughty, aren't you?

    Glad to hear you found my blog through Christa! She's lovely!


  11. Hello Anna

    A delighted post. I am a novice when it comes to yeast, I have never baked with it and think I would like to see someone prepare it before I give it a try. I seem to have less time for baking lately, as painting is taking up my creative time. Life is good, so many exciting and fun things we can do with our time. You are a true artist in the kitchen. Having said that, I should probably add you are artistic in other rooms of the house too.
    My best
    Helen xx

  12. Dear Helen,

    Yes, life is exciting and I just wish I had more time to do all the things I would like to do, and to be happy. There just is no time and life is very short...

    I like being creative with everything I do and I like beauty (in a relative sense, of course, as beauty is very much "in the eye of the beholder" to use Shakespeare's words) and beautiful things.

    Life is good and it's beautiful. I enjoy the "little things" around me. We all do our best to make ourselves and those we care for, happy.

    Don't worry about baking, Helen, as you are one of the lucky ones who have managed to couple creativity with a career. Lucky you! And you create beautiful, meaningful work.

    Thank you for yje compliments, Helen. I like to think that I am creative. It gives meaning and purpose to some of the things that I do.




  13. Ciao Anna, ma non puoi inserire una versione italiana delle tue belle ricette. Noi facciamo le pizzelle di fiori di zucca così poi io amo le zeppole di san giuseppe fritte e al forno e quelle di natale fatte con la patata lessa nell'impasto, fritte e cosparse di zucchero semolato e un pò di cannella. Le tue foto parlano da sole. Le palline rosa sono ovetti? Che bei colori e a quest'ora quelle con gli spinaci mi fanno venire un languorino !!!

  14. Ciao Patty!

    Io ho scelto l'inglese come lingua, per avere un pubblico piu` vasto di lettori e anche perche` immagino che in Italia, piu` o meno, si conoscano i piatti. Ma la varieta` e` vasta e le influenze culturali innumerevoli.

    Io, le pettole con i fiori di zucchina(o zeppole come le chianmano in Campania) le ho mangiate in Campania in un ristorantino che si trova a dieci passi dalla nostra casa. Mia madre le faceva dolci, con lo zuccero, ma le ho anche assaggiate al tonno: BUONISSIME!

    Le "palline" sono dei veri confetti, con mandorle e non evetti. Li ho usati per rendere l'immagine piu` carina e perche` sono buoni! Ne ho mangiati tanti, accidenti! Adoro le mandorle!

    Cerchero` di trovare qualcosa che permetta di leggere il blog in altre lingue. Io faccio tutto da sola: ricette, esecuzioni e fotografia e ho paura di rovinare tutto, inserendo cose nuove! Questi blogs sono capricciosi!

    CIAO... vai a casa in Campania per Natale?



  15. Anna, thankyou for your comments they were so heartwarming and made my day! Do you have family in America? Have a wonderful weekend, love Linda x

  16. Hi Anna, I don't know how I missed this post of yours! Just having a little blog-peep this morning and spotted it. They look SO GOOOOD! I don't know whether I like the look of the sweet of savoury best. I do love crispy fried things but only in small doses - as a real treat- and these look perfect for that. Might try to persuade my lovely man to do a little experimental cooking....Have a happy Sunday. Jane xx

  17. HI again, Jane! Do you remember Minder? He used to call his wife "Her indoors?" You keep calling your partner (?) "My lovely man!" which is nice... but funny!

    Anyway! Yes, Jane, I don't fry things and I rarely have pettole, but they are delicious, especially just plain, dipped in sugar... YUM!




  18. Both pettole must taste so good!

    ♥ Franka