Saint Joseph’s Day Zeppole

Saint Joseph’s Day Zeppole

Saint Joseph’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Joseph’s, is March 19. It is a celebratory day for Catholics and Italians, especially in cities where there is a large population of Italian-Americans. Like many American holidays, it’s all about the food.

Saint Joseph’s Day Zeppole , known as Zeppole Di San Giuseppe  in Italy, is similar to a cream puff. The pastry can be fried or baked, then filled with a sweet custard cream or ricotta filling (these pastries are called sfingi ), dusted with confectioner’s sugar, and topped with a sour cherry. I picked up a container of Amarena cherries in heavy syrup from Cavallari’s the other day, with these pastries in mind. Amarena cherries have a distinct flavor. They are grown in northern Italy and can be a bit bitter or sour. The cherries are almost dark burgundy or purple in color and are preserved in heavy syrup. You can find them in Italian specialty shops. Maraschino cherries or cherry jam works, too, if you can’t find Amarena cherries.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup hot water
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 5 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • Amarena or Maraschino cherries
Read the whole recipe on Olives-n-Okra: Stories about Food and Family