Home > food > The “zeppole di San Giuseppe” (also known as “graffe napoletane”) – the recipe

Culture. Eat it

30 November 2018

cakes and desserts

The “zeppole di San Giuseppe” (also known as “graffe napoletane”) – the recipe

by Kristel Cescotto

You know that strange but immensely fascinating disturbance of the human psyche known under the name of Stendhal Syndrome? Which is also the title of a film – not among the most memorable but among those to not recommend – by Dario Argento. In short, it is a psychosomatic affection that can be observed in subjects placed in the presence of works of art of extraordinary beauty, especially if they are compressed in limited spaces. May cause, in order: tachycardia, dizziness, vertigo, confusion and hallucinations.

Here, when Ramona has pronounced the name of his family recipe, that is, those that in Naples are called Zeppole di San Giuseppe (otherwise known as graffe napoletane), my jaws immediately started to overproduce spittle.

The following day – a bitter – fate wanted:

  • because of the law of averages;
  • for divine punishment (gluttony, I did not need to point out I think);
  • for law of the attraction of my nutritionist who has lost my track for months but still admonishes me through The Secret;
  • by chance even if I do not believe in the case;

a colossal invasion of Rotavirus punished my body.

I could not fight against thousand and thousand small evil organisms that conquered my fragile limbs one by one. Thank God, and thanks to the Ayurvedic / homeopathic remedies / various essential oils / Shlusser salts which I habitually habituate, in less than 48 hours I was again as snappy as a gazelle escaping from the lion and again able to try palatal orgasms of those that makes me take on an expression worthy of Santa Teresa in Bernini’s Transverberation.

In short, I told you “Stendhal Syndrome”. Just to tell you that last night, not yet completely defeated the Rotavirus, to properly document me about what I should tell you (and cook) today (the graffe napoletane / zeppole di San Giuseppe), I landed on a beautiful Instagram Page. One of those joys that the social media can give only to those who knows how to look up. Napoli Food Porn. And I said everything. Almost.

In short, in me, to provoke the kind of disturbance mentioned above, it was not art but food. I got a Stendhal syndrome from Neapolitan food porn that, there was no rotavirus so strong. In 5 minutes I passed from the most atrocious stomach cramps to dreaming of a sfogliatella with cream or a stuffed pizza or a freshly Zeppole.
In seeing certain images I really thought I was fainting. And the overproduction of spittle has been reactivated in no time. Miracle. I healed. Napoli Food Porn better than Plasil medicine.

The recipe of the Graffe napoletane that I will tell you below has been cut and paste  from the pages of the Lucarelli recipe book “Frijenno magnanno” (frying eating – I quote Ramona: “expression that indicates frying several times even during the meal, because the fried should be eaten immediately, still hot and crisp). In spite of what I thought, it was a quick and painless preparation.

I will not tell you anything but eat them as soon as they are here to enjoy.

The “zeppole di San Giuseppe” (also known as “graffe napoletane”) – the recipe

INGREDIENTS (doses for a dozen of “zeppole di San Giuseppe”)

  • 500 g of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g of butter
  • 50 g of milk
  • 3 potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar
  • 25 g of yeast
  • a pinch of salt
  • the zest of a lemon
  • caster sugar q.s.
  • oil for frying q.s.

While tasting, listen: Lucio Dalla, La casa in riva al mare


  1. Knead the flour with the eggs and salt.
  2. Melt the butter; melt the yeast in warm milk.
  3. Boil the potatoes, peel and smash them.
  4. In a pastry board, place the flour. In the center place the eggs, the sugar, the smashed potatoes, the grated zest of the lemon, the milk with the yeast and the melted butter. Stir everything and knead it.
  5. Take small pieces of dough, shape them like little sausages and close them giving the shape of a donut.
  6. Let it rise for 2 hours under a clean cloth.
  7. Fry a little at a time in plenty of boiling oil. Drain the “graffe napoletane” and sprinkle them with sugar.


Ph. Sara Cartelli
© The Eat Culture

Photos: Sara Cartelli


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Kristel Cescotto

Omnia vincit amor

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Kristel Cescotto


Once upon a time there was a 30 years old girl, and she has not the slightest idea what it would be at 32: one, no one but for sure no one hundred thousand. Daughter, sister, friend, mom of a dog, woman of an amazing man. Thinker fulltime, practices the Universal Love. Always looking for which direction take to and who to be doing it. Thank God everything flows. Panta Rei. And in the end, as in a beautiful garden Bahai, she will be delighted by lighting… and she lived happily ever after.

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