DessertsItalian Holiday Traditions

St.Joseph’s Pastries {Zeppole di San Giuseppe}

St. Joseph’s Pastries or Zeppole di San Giuseppe are traditional cream filled pastries from Campagna region of Italy.

A little bit of curiosity

Zeppole di San Giuseppe is a MUST-MAKE for Saint Joseph’s Day (March 19) which is one of the principal feasts in Western Christianity.

Since Saint Joseph is known to be the foster-father of Jesus Christ, in Italy on this day we also celebrate Father’s Day.

Zeppole shells are made of a classic choux pastry dough or pâte à choux and are filled with delicious, silky pastry cream.

Since choux pastry dough is know to play games when handled incorrectly (not rise or turn flat when out of the oven) it’s really important to get it right, so that you can have perfect, puffy, well baked pastries to fill with cream.

In this recipe you’ll learn how to make St. Joseph’s Zeppole step by step.

Useful Tools

Durable pastry bag (cloth or silicone) and a large star tip is really handy if you want to make this perfect swirl shape pastry.

But you can definitely form (not so perfect) shells just using 2 spoons to scoop and arrange the dough.

I use the same tip to pipe the dough, fill pastries and decorate pastries with cream.

How To Make Choux Pastry Dough Step By Step

  • Start by combining water, butter and salt in a pot placed over medium heat.
    Bring to a boil.
    Reduce the heat to low and add all flour at once.
    Using a wooden spoon mix energetically until the dough comes together in a smooth ball.
    Continue mixing and cooking on low heat for a few minutes.
St. Joseph's Pastry (Zeppole)- Step 1
  • Transfer the dough into a mixer bowl.
    Using a dough hook beat it for about a couple of minutes to let the dough cool.
    Once the dough is cool start beating in the eggs one at a time.
    Add the next egg ONLY once the previous one has been completely incorporated.
    NOTE: All this can be done by hand without use of the mixer.
St. Joseph's Pastry (Zeppole)- Step 2

Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a large star-shaped tip.

Now you’re ready to fry zeppole or bake them in the oven.

Should Zeppole be baked or fried?

In the most classic version zeppole are deep fried in extra virgin olive oil.

But honestly, I prefer oven baked zeppole, which is a much more healthier, less messy (which is pretty important) and equally DELICIOUS version.

How To Bake Zeppole

  • Preheat oven to 375F/ 180C
  • Line baking sheet with parchment paper.Pipe the dough into 3 inch in diameter circles with about an inch and a half hole in the middle.Make sure to leave enough space between the pastries as they’ll double in size in the oven.
  • Bake in preheated to 375F oven for 25-30 minutes until lightly brown. Don’t open the oven during the first 25 minutes. Past 25 minutes open the oven door for a few inches and let zeppole bake for another 5-10 minutes this way.
St. Joseph's Pastry (Zeppole)- Step 3

How To Fry Zeppole

  • Preheat vegetable oil suitable for frying to 375F in a deep sautee pan.
  • Cut out 3 inch squares of parchment paper or aluminum foil, brush one side of the square with vegetable oil.
    Pipe the dough on each square forming a circle.
  • Deep squares in hot oil a few at a time. The paper will separate from the fritters in the hot oil.
  • You can remove it using small tongs. Fry zeppole until lightly brown. Transfer on paper towel to absorb excess oil.

Fill Pastries With Cream

  • Let pastries cool. Cut each in half. Fill a pastry bag with pastry cream.
  • Pipe pastry cream on the bottom half, cover with top and pipe another star or swirl of a pastry cream on the top.
  • Decorate with cherries.
    Dust with confectioners sugar.
St. Joseph's Pastry (Zeppole)- Step 4

Cream Filling Variations

Classic vanilla pastry cream filling can be flavored with lemon or orange zest or a combination of both!

You can also use your favorite kind of cream.

Chantilly Cream (whipped cream), Diplomat Cream, Ricotta Cream.

The only kind of cream I don’t recommend using is all kinds of heavy creams, like butter cream for example.

St.Joseph's Pastry {Zeppole di San Giuseppe}
Zeppole - St Joseph Pastry
5 from 1 vote

St.Joseph’s Pastry – Zeppole di San Giuseppe

St. Joseph’s Pastries or Zeppole di San Giusepper are traditional cream filled pastries from Campagna region.
Print Pin Rate / Comment
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12 pastries

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 ⅓ cup flour approx 170 grams
  • 4 oz butter approx 115 grams
  • 4 medium eggs
  • ½ tsp salt

For Pasty Cream:

For Decoration:

Tools

Instructions

Pastry Cream

  • Beat egg yolks with sugar. Add corn starch, vanilla and ½ cup milk. Beat everything well until you get a smooth and even lump free batter .
  • Heat remaining milk on a stove-top without boiling it.
    Turn the heat on low and slowly start pouring in egg yolk batter.
  • Whisk continuously to prevent formation of lumps and cream sticking to the bottom of the pot. Continue whisking until the cream starts to become pretty thick and turns into custard.
  • Be careful not to overcook it otherwise you’ll get a sweet omelet.
    Once you see consistency of the cream is thick enough add butter, whisk until it’s completely incorporated.
  • Transfer the pastry cream in a large bowl, cover with a plastic wrap making it touch the cream. Let cool completely.

Zeppole

  • In a medium stovetop pot combine water, butter and salt.
    Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add all flour at once. Using a wooden spoon mix energetically until the dough comes together in a smooth ball.
    Continue mixing and cooking on low heat for a few minutes.
  • Transfer the dough into a mixer bowl.
    Using a dough hook beat it for about a few minutea to let the dough cool.
    Once the dough is cool start beating in the eggs one at a time. Add the next egg ONLY once the previous one has been completely incorporated.
    NOTE: All this can be done by hand without use of the mixer.
  • Transfer the dough to a pastry bag with a large star-shaped tip.

Now you have 2 options

    Baked Zeppole

    • Preheat oven to 375F/ 180C
    • Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
      Pipe the dough into 3 inch in diameter circles with about an inch and a half hole in the middle.
      Make sure to leave enough space between the pastries as they’ll double in size in the oven.
    • Bake in preheated to 375F oven for 25-30 minutes until lightly brown. Don’t open the oven during the first 25 minutes. Past 25 minutes open the oven door for a few inches and let zeppole bake for another 5-10 minutes this way.

    Fried Zeppole

    • Preheat vegetable oil suitable for frying to 375F in a deep sautee pan.
    • Cut out 3 inch squares of parchment paper or aluminum foil, brush one side of the square with vegetable oil.
      Pipe the dough on each square forming a circle.
    • Deep squares in hot oil a few at a time. The paper will separate from the fritters in the hot oil.
    • You can remove it using small tongs. Fry zeppole until lightly brown. Discard on paper towel to absorb excess oil.

    Fill pastries with cream

    • Let pastries cool. Cut each in half.
      Fill a pastry bag with pastry cream.
    • Pipe pastry cream on the bottom half, cover with top and pipe another star or swirl of a pastry cream on the top.
    • Decorate with cherries.
      Dust with confectioners sugar.

    Notes

    Decorate with cherry. You can use simple compote cherries or candied cherries.
    Liked this recipe?Follow @italianrecipeb for more!

    My mouth is watering just from looking at the pics 😋

    St.Joseph's Pastry {Zeppole di San Giuseppe}

    Buon Appetito!

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    5 Comments

    1. I love these cream puffs with diplomat cream I use a French star tip too! Even for my eclairs because I find they bake better. Thanks for sharing.

      1. Hi Bea! Thanks for stopping by. Star tip is one of my favorite. I use it for Italian Butter Cookies, cake decoration and now will definitely try for eclairs too 😉

      1. Hi Carolyn, have you measured dry ingredients using a kitchen scale? Because the right consistency of the dough is key. If the shells turned out flat most likely the dough was too runny or they were removed from the oven too early. Is any of this true?

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