Now different parts of the country make donuts differently. In Louisiana, you can buy beignets. In The Wizard of Oz, Auntie Em made crullers, which are also popular in Germany. A friend of mine grew up on pershings in Pennsylvania, where they also eat fastnachts. I grew up eating donuts from the local bagel bakery, along with bagels and bialys. But in the Italian city of Naples, the fried doughnut is called a zeppole. In the US, zeppoles are associated with Italian Catholic church feasts like the feast of San Gennaro in New York City's Little Italy.
The other day I made zeppole using store-bought pizza dough, and it was very beignet-like, but not at light. Today I decided to make zeppoles from scratch, which as it turns out is one of the easiest things in the world. What made it easier was getting help from my new YouTube mentor, Mary Ahearn, whose website is fantastic for home cooks.
Mary's zeppoles are amazing. They are crisp on the outside and airy on the inside. I sprinkled mine with confectioner's sugar this time, but I think that next time I'll mix up some cinnamon sugar.