Blogger Holiday Traditions: Amanda’s Zeppoles {baci designer stationery & events}

Hi, Amanda from baci designer stationery + events here! When I saw Jacin write about starting this new series, I just knew I had to share our three days of family (and food!) filled traditions. My husband, Ilario, and I live close to his family, but about three hours from mine, so it can be tricky to plan out time with each group, but after seven years together we’ve got it nailed down pat ;)

The festivities start on “Christmas Eve Eve” as we like to call it, when we eat a giant feast of pot roast, drink homemade Irish Cream and spend time with our best friends, The Moore Family. My dear friend married Ilario’s best high school buddy and now their entire family has essentially became ours - we couldn’t image the holidays without all of them!  On Christmas Eve we start the fun at my husband’s parents’ house where we eat homemade zeppole, an Italian doughnut, straight from the pan with sardines for the salt lovers or coated in powdered sugar, our nephews’ favorite treat! After we’ve stuffed ourselves to the gills with fried dough we start on the meatless, seafood meal - this is a tradition my husband’s Italian family has continued to uphold since his grandparents and parents came to America. As the evening progresses we open presents - my husband and I started a tradition of gifting our nephew’s special Hallmark Christmas ornaments each year, a tradition my grandmother started with me and my cousins when we were very little. My mom has even started doing the same with our immediate family, it’s so much fun to to look back at the ornaments from each year!

Christmas morning Ilario and I wake up at the crack of dawn, we pack up the car and hop on the road for the drive to my mom and dad’s. Our kitty, Morris even gets to come along each year - he loves spending the holidays exploring my parents’ house! It’s such a great ride with few people on the road and Christmas tunes blaring on the radio! It’s even more wonderful if we get a few Ohio flurries on the way!!

{Morris on his very first Christmas at my parents’ house - 2009}

We really look forward to sharing these traditions with our future children and maybe even adding a few new ones of our own.  And so you, too, can enjoy a small part of our holiday food-filled joy, I’m sharing my mother-in-law’s zeppole recipe!  She doesn’t really measure or write down actual recipes, lol, so feel free to tweak as you see fit since these measurements are strictly estimates.

Cursaro Family Zeppole

5 lbs flour
4 cups instant mashed potatoes mixed with enough water to make them slightly runny
1 t. sugar in warm water, add 5 - 6 t. yeast until foamy
1/4 cup salt
vegetable oil
warm water


  1. Place flour in a large bowl, add watery instant mashed potatoes and mix well.
  2. Add foamy yeast/sugar mixture.  Add more water and a bit of vegetable oil until you reach a doughy consistency.  Add more flour if it becomes too soft.
  3. Work dough, adding air into it so it’s nice and fluffy.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap or a plastic bag and set aside - this will save you time working the dough.  Repeat and cover again with plastic to let the dough rise.
  4. When dough has finished rising, place into a clean well oiled bowl.  Fill a small bowl with oil to dip your fingers in so the dough doesn’t stick to your fingers.
  5. Fill a frying pan 3/4 full of vegetable oil - heat oil until a small piece of dough rises to the top and browns in a couple of minutes.
  6. Pinch a bit of dough, quickly spread it or stretch it then carefully place it into the hot oil.  Dough will rise to the top, when it’s golden brown flip over and repeat on the other side.
  7. Serve zeppole while it’s still hot sliced with an anchovy in the middle, with olives on the side or coated with a dusting of powdered sugar.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!!

  • Melina says on December 13, 2011 Reply

    Oh this sounds so yummy! My husband and I are going to be alone for the first time this Christmas and I wanted to be able to start traditions with certain foods we make and ornaments. I’m gonna have to look into making this and see if he likes it! Then I may have to make it for Christmas if he does! :-) Thanks for sharing this Amanda!

  • Nichole {Sweet Carolina} says on December 14, 2011 Reply

    Our family does a Christmas Eve Eve too! It’s fun to prolong the festivities. We have two cats too - an orange one kinda like yours :) Sadly, we have to leave them at home while we travel. Great hearing your traditions, Amanda!

  • dancy says on December 14, 2011 Reply

    Wow, that’s interesting. I’ve never heard of using mashed potatoes. I’ve also never had a savory zeppole - I’ve only ever had it with powdered sugar as a dessert. I really like the idea of using olives, cheese, veggies, etc.

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