Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mea 'Ia Momona Versus Dolce Italiano

Mea 'Ia Momona Versus Dolce Italiano yes guess the gloves may be off today. The desserts are on the table, Hawaiian versus Italian, I guess comparing one against the other's close counterpart, but it is a challenge none the less.

Though When feeling a bit down, or missing some friends, or maybe in preparation of their return I think there is nothing like a little something sweet to help make it all a little better, don't you think.  So that is why I decided to reach in and do a dessert comparison of sorts.  Lets take the gloves off, for this lets go fried dough to fried dough.  Puffed cream filled delight to cream filled delight.  Oh okay it is more a cultural thing than a challenge, though I do have to admit it is hard, not eating all the sweets in sight that you are writing about, oh wait I may have.   That would explain the fact my clothes being a little tighter, guess it may have caught up with me.  

Back to the dessert comparison that got me in this mess, as I was in Hawaii back in September (not sure if I mentioned that before) I had the pleasure of trying Malasadas.  These are these fried almost doughnut like pastries that are from Portuguese origins. Malasadas are extremely popular  Hawaii treat, and there seems to be many recipes for them.  Now after they are fried they are typically served with sugar, or cinnamon and sugar for that added touch.   


Oil for deep frying
1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup warm water (approx 110 degrees)
6 eggs
6 cups flour
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup half and half
Sugar  to coat 

  1. In a small bowl, whisk yeast, sugar and warm water together, and set aside.
  2. Using the electric mixer, add the eggs and beat until they are thick. Switch the attachment to a dough hook, and add the yeast mixture, butter, sugar, milk and half and half, and salt.
  3. Begin to add flour a cup at a time, until a soft dough ball is formed. Remove the dough and place into the lightly oiled bowl, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
  4. Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, this should take about an hour.  
  5. Pour the oil into a large, deep pot or a fryer, and heat it to 350 degrees.  
  6. After the dough has risen, place on a floured surface and roll it to 1/4 inch thick.  Then cut into 1-inch squares with the sharp knife.  
  7. Drop the dough pieces into the hot oil for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden, stirring constantly.  Remove the malasadas from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.  
  8. While the malasadas are still warm, roll them in sugar.  

Now in contrast what we grew up on our "fried dough" or as we Italians loving call them zeppoli.  This traditional carnival fare, another fried dough for the most part, is either some simply just deep fry pizza dough, or your family has some old recipe handed down for making them.  For me it is both, and I thought I would share the latter with you.  Let's face it, everyone loves fried dough right?  So if you want to attempt a traditional bite you may want to try this.


vegetable oil for frying
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 1/2 tsp sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting 

  1. Heat oil in a to 375 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Stir in the eggs, ricotta cheese and vanilla. Mix gently until combined. Batter will be sticky.
  3. Drop by tablespoons into the hot oil a few at a time. zeppoli, turn over if they don't do this themselves. Fry until golden brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Drain on a paper towel then dust with confectioners' sugar. 

What can I say about this next dessert, except it is a small puffed pastry, that is  filled with chocolate pudding and topped with a thick, vanilla and coconut topping. They can be found at the famous Liliha Bakery, and in my own experience, oh man you so have to try them. This is a copy-cat recipe so by no means think I have uncovered some secret.

Cocoa Puffs 

1 cup water
4 oz butter
1 cup flour
4 large eggs

2- 8 oz packets Dream Whip topping mix
2 -6 oz boxes instant chocolate pudding 
2 - 3/4 cups cold milk

Chantilly Frosting
1- 13 oz can evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  1. Combine milk, sugar, butter, egg yolks and vanilla. Cook stirring constantly, over medium heat for 12 minutes, until mixture thickens. Add vanilla extract. Chill  for an hour covered with a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface.


  1. Combine all ingredients and beat with mixer for 6-7 minutes on highest speed. 

  1. Boil water and butter. Remove from heat, add flour. 
  2. Stir until ball of dough forms and pulls away form the sides of saucepan. Mix in eggs one at a time, beat for 1 minute before adding the next. 
  3. Scoop onto foiled cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes then lower heat to 325 degrees for 30-35 minute.  The puffs should look dry, and tip over when nudged gently with a wooden spoon. 
  4. Cool and cut off tops with a serrated knife. Fill, put back tops, and frost with chantilly frosting.

Now for the Italian counterpart and it is another zeppoli, it's  full name is Zeppoli di San Giuseppe in honor of Saint Joseph.  This pastry is made around the celebration that takes place on March 19th every year.  I would bet pineapples to grenades, this would take on any salad any day!

Zeppoli di San Giuseppe 
St. Joseph's Cream Puffs

1 cup hot water
1/2 cup butter
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup flour, sifted
4 eggs
1 tsp orange zest 
1 tsp lemon zest

  1.  Preheat oven to 450º, Lightly grease a baking sheet.  In a medium saucepan, bring water, butter sugar and salt to boil.  
  2. Add all the flour, then beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture comes away from the  sides of pan and forms a smooth ball, then remove from heat.  
  3. then one at a time, beat in eggs, make sure mixture is smooth after each addition. Then continue to beat mixture until it is smooth and glossy.  
  4. Add orange and lemon zest and mix thoroughly.
  5. Then drop by tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  6. Bake at 450º  for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350º and bake 15-20 minutes or until golden in color. 
  7. Then remove and cool completely. Then cut each puff in half and fill with ricotta filling (below) or you may use whipped cream, vanilla pudding.

Ricotta Filling
1-1/2 lbs  ricotta cheese 
1 ¼ cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp orange zest
2 Tbsp lemon zest

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat with electric mixer for about 10 minutes until smooth. Then cover place refrigerator until ready to use.

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