On 19 March, the feast day of San Giuseppe, Italians celebrate St. Joseph as the foster father of Jesus and all fathers across the country – it’s Italian Father’s Day and day of the zeppole.
The day of San Giuseppe is celebrated by Catholics throughout the world, but especially in Sicily. During the Middle Ages, St. Joseph saved the island from famine by providing fava beans, which play a large part in celebrations particularly in southern Italy.
Another integral part of the Festa di San Giuseppe are zeppole, delicious pastries that range from cream puffs to pockets of fried dough depending on what part of the country you’re in. Our personal favourites have a delicious amarena cherry decorating the centre of each ring of zeppole.
Recipe for 20 Zeppole Ingredients:
- 2 cups cold water
- 5 oz butter
- 8 oz Tipo 00 flour
- 6 whole eggs
- 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt.
Ingredients for the cream:
- 2 cups milk
- 3 Egg yolks
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1/4 cup Tipo 00 flour
- 1/2 tablespoon Vanilla extract
- 20 amarena cherries
Preparation of Zeppole:
- Pour the water into a pan, add the salt and margarine (or butter).
- Bring to a boil, then add the flour and sprinkle in the baking powder.
- Mix with a wooden spoon until it takes a round shape, forms a sort of ball.
- Let the mixture sit in a bowl for 10 minutes.
- Add eggs (2 at a time) and mix with an electric mixer for about 10 minutes.
- Prepare a baking sheet and cover it with wax paper.
- Use a pastry bag with spout to form rings layering them on top of each other directly on the baking sheet.
- Place in a 350 deg preheated oven (it’s very important that the oven is hot) for 25 minutes.
Preparation of the filling:
- Boil the milk in a saucepan.
- In another deep pan, off the heat, place the egg yolks, sugar and stir with a wooden spoon to achieve a soft texture.
- Add the flour and continue stirring.
- Add the boiling milk to the mixture, pouring it a little time, and mix everything together on low heat for 5 minutes.
- Pour the ready cream into a bowl and add the vanilla stirring occasionally.
- Once the zeppole are baked, let them cool and cut them in half, horizontally and fill with cream, then top each one with an amarena cherry.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve.