Okay, I've finally found the right tool for the job: a cute little fryer that did a fantastic job on its maiden voyage... Zeppole!
If you don't know what it is, zeppole is a fritter: a deep-fried dough ball typically coated with powdered or granulated sugar. Zeppole di San Giuseppe originated in southern Italy and are named for St. Joseph of Enna, Sicily. They're traditionally served at festivals of St. Joseph and on the streets of Naples and Rome. Zeppole can be filled with a variety of things, such as jam, pastry cream, or a butter-honey blend, and sometimes, savory zeppole may include anchovy or olive. They are a staple of street fare during festival time in southern Italy.
All methods begin with creating a hot roux, into which flour is added slowly, then cooled, then adding eggs one at a time, and letting the batter cool to room temp before frying at 375°. My current recipe is still a work in progress; this time, I used all-purpose flour in one batch, and All-Trumps high-gluten pizza flour in the other. Both of them cooked just fine, but the all-purpose version came out dense, while the other one came out with a more custardy, fluffy interior.
I like the way the zeppole splits mid-way cooking -- that's a good sign.
The traditional coating is to use tons of powdered sugar on the zeppole, but I opted to coat with a blend of granulated sugar, cinnamon, and the scrapings of a vanilla bean.
Honestly, I don't know of any other pizzerias in town that sport these on their menus... But I'm pretty sure I'll have a big hit on my hands when these show up at Red Apron Pizzeria.