For 15 Zeppole (doughnuts)
Water 250 ml (8 and 1/2 fl oz)
Butter 70 g (2.5 oz)
Flour 150 g (1/3 pound)
Sugar 50 g (1/4 cup)
a pinch of salt
Strega liqueur 1 tablespoon (or limoncello or grappa)
Abundant frying oil
For the custard
Milk 500 ml (17 fl oz)
Egg yolks 2
Sugar 250 g (1 and 1/4 cup)
Flour 70 g (2.5 oz)
Lemon peel 1
Sour cherries in syrup or candied cherries
Bring water with a pinch of salt and the butter to the boil (picture 1), the butter should be completely melted before the water reaches the boil. As soon as it comes to the boil,lower the heat and add all at once the flour stirring vigorously, you will get a thick and sticky mixture, keep stirring until it sizzle and comes off from the sides of the stewpan (picture 2). Remove from heat, add the sugar and keep stirring to mix it well. Lay out the mixture on a plate or a marble table and leave it to cool (picture 3), then mix the eggs one at a time (picture 4-5) and in the end add the liqueur (picture 6). Cut out squares of baking paper, pour the mixture into a pastry bag with star shaped nozzle and form on each square of paper a disk of paste with a diameter of 6 cm (2.5 inches), with a whirl motion, superimposing a ring of paste only on the outside as to form a small bowl (picture 7).
In a frying pan, bring plenty of oil to frying point. When the oil is hot, deep-fry a couple of zeppole at a time, by dipping the whole baking paper (picture 8) that will be eliminated, just as the zeppola comes off with the use of a kitchen pincer (picture 9). Toss several times the zeppole in hot oil until completely golden (picture 10), then drain them with a perforated spoon and place them on multiple sheets of kitchen paper to drain the excess oil (picture 11). Once you have fried them all, let them cool.
Meanwhile prepare the custard: mix the sugar with the flour, whisk the egg yolk and stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, add spoonfuls of sugar and flour mixture, if it becomes too stiff, add a dash of warm milk before continuing.
When you have worked in all the sugar and flour mixture, add the remaining milk and pour everything into a cooker, add the lemon peel and bring it to the boil over low heat constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, make it simmer for a few minutes then turn off the heat and remove the lemon peel otherwise the cream will have a bitter taste. Let it cool down stirring from time to time to avoid the forming of a crust on the surface.
Put the custard in a pastry bag and make tufts of cream at the center of the zeppola (picture 12), add a sour cherry in syrup or a candied cherry on top and sprinkle with icing sugar.