Saintly Sweets


  Zeppolle with Almond Ricotta Cream and Blackberry Dipping Sauce from "Small, Sweet and Italian"


Growing up American-Italian Roman Catholic, I've always loved feast days. Especially when these days are celebrated with food. Twelve years of Catholic school and a lifetime of my grandmother's unique superstitious religiousness meant plenty of first Friday masses, many loaves of holy  bread for Saint Rocco's day, ( August 17th) and an abundance of delicious fried zeppolle for St. Joseph's day ( March 19th) .  I was never quite sure why these saints are celebrated with carbs, but I am more than happy to celebrate their inspirational lives this way.  Any readers with the answers, please advise. In the meantime, I think I'll fry up a batch of zeppolle di San Giuseppe , a basic fried cream puff,  topped with a traditional vanilla pastry cream and maraschino cherry.Enjoy, and don't forget to pull the ear of someone named Joseph or Josephine, it's their feast day , too.


Zeppole di San Giuseppe

These are best when fried, filled and enjoyed the same day

Patsta Bigne

Makes 24 zeppole

8 tablespoons butter

1 cup water

Pinch of salt

1 cup flour

4 eggs, at room temperature

Vegetable oil for frying

powdered sugar and maraschino cherries for garnish

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium high heat, combine butter, water, and salt. Bring to a boil. Add flour quickly, all at once, and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture comes away from the sides of the pan, and a film forms on the bottom of the pan, about 3 minutes.
  2. Remove pan from the heat. Spoon mixture into mixing bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after adding each one. Mix well for a smooth sticky dough
  3. Preheat oil in a medium pan to 350 F.
  4. Place dough into a pastry bag and  pipe dough onto a  2-inch square piece of oiled parchment paper. Slip into hot oil and fry until golden. Be sure to keep frying when dough puffs up and splits while frying. You wan to be sure they cook inside.
  5. Drain on absorbent paper.
  6. Fill with vanilla pastry cream, dust tops with confectioners sugar and garnish with maraschino cherry.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

2 cups milk

6 egg Yolks

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup Corn Starch

1 stick Unsalted Butter

1tab. Vanilla extract

  1. In a medium pan, over medium-low heat, bring 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of the sugar to a boil.
  2. In a small bowl combine the rest of the sugar, cornstarch, milk and egg yolks.  Once combined, strain.  Add the egg mixture to the boiling milk. Whisk constantly on medium-low heat until thick and has come to a boil.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla and butter.  Stir until smooth. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to avoid a skin forming on top as it cools.
  4. Let cool before using.

For chocolate pastry cream, stir in 1/2 cup chopped chocolate with vanilla and butter.



Six Ways To Celebrate St. Joseph's Day, March 19th

  1. Attend Mass.
  2. Feed the hungry and poor.
  3. Make a St. Joseph's Table or Altar.
  4. Give a gift to someone in your family, or to a friend, named Joseph or Josephine; today is their name day!
  5. March in a parade.
  6. Eat zeppole!

courtesy of hub



zeppolle with pastry cream