recipe

Baked Zeppole Di San Giuseppe: the tasty Italian dessert recipe for St Joseph’s pastries

Total time: 80 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 6 people
By Cookist
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Zeppole di San Giuseppe originates from the Campania region of Italy and is traditionally made for St. Joseph’s Day which is 19 March. This is also the same day on which they celebrate Father’s Day. The baked Zeppole di San Giuseppe (also known as St. Joseph’s pastries) are made from classic choux pastry dough (or pâte à choux) and filled with smooth custard.

It’s similar to Sfingi, but Sfingi is filled with ricotta, while the zeppole is filled with custard. The flavor is sweet, while the puffy choux pastry is the perfect balance to the creamy filling. To make it, you’ll first bake the pastry, fill it with cream and then top it with cherries. It’s not only delicious but also looks beautiful!

How To Bake Zeppole Di San Giuseppe

Make the custard cream. Start by adding the milk and vanilla bean to a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. In the meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Use ¼ cup of the hot milk mixture to temper the eggs. Add it and whisk. Add the rest of the hot milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Now pour it back into the pan. Continue to cook while whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Cover the custard with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and let it cool.

Make the choux pastry. Add the butter, water, milk, and salt to a saucepan. Mix everything over medium heat until it boils. Once it boils, add the flour and stir vigorously until the dough comes together. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it cool slightly. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring with a hand whisk until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the batter to a piping bag.

Form the pastry. Pipe circles onto a baking tray covered with baking paper. Bake until golden. Add the custard to another pastry bag and decorate the Zeppole. To finish garnish with a black cherry in syrup for each Zeppola.

Tips

To prevent a lumpy custard, it’s important to whisk the custard continuously while you’re cooking it. When adding it, add it in a thin, steady stream to ensure that the flour and milk blend evenly.

Instead of cooking the custard on the stove, you can make it in the microwave and blend the mixture with a stick blender.

After adding the flour (add it all at once), you’ll need to stir the ingredients vigorously until it no longer sticks to the pot. This allows the gluten to develop and will ensure that the pastry puffs up nicely when cooked.

Take the pot off the heat before adding the eggs. If the flour mixture is too hot, the eggs will end up cooking, resulting in a gummy pastry that tastes eggy.

Zeppole Di San Giuseppe Variations

Try any of the following variations:

  • Filled with Nutella and topped with nuts.
  • Filled with whipped cream and topped with fresh strawberries.
  • Filled with ricotta and mascarpone and topped with peach preserves.

How To Store Baked Zeppole Di San Giuseppe

The Baked Zeppole Di San Giuseppe is best served fresh. But leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days.

Ingredients
Butter
130 g (1/2 cup)
Water
60 ml (1/4 cup)
Milk
60 ml (1/4 cup)
Salt
2 g (1/4 tsp)
All-purpose flour
130 g (1 cup)
Eggs
4
Black cherries
for the custard
Milk
470 ml (2 cups)
vanilla bean
1
Egg yolks
6
Sugar
140 g (2/3 cup)
Cornstarch
40 g (1/4 cup)

Instructions

For making the custard: Add the milk and vanilla bean to a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.

In a bowl, add the egg yolks.

Add the sugar and whisk until light and fluffy.

Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain.

Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan.

Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling.

Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming, and let it cool.

For making the batter: Add the water in a saucepan.

Pour in the milk.

Add the butter and salt.

Mix everything over medium heat.

When the mixture starts to boil add the flour.

At this point, start stirring constantly, vigorously, until you notice the formation of a whitish patina on the bottom of the pan.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and let it cool. When the mixture is moderately hot, add the eggs, one at a time.

Stir with a hand whisk until the mixture is smooth.

Transfer the batter to a piping bag. Pipe circles onto a baking tray covered with baking paper.

Bake in oven at 180°C/356°F for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Add the custard to a pastry bag and decorate the Zeppole.

To finish garnish with a black cherry in syrup for each Zeppola. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

When cooling the custard, make sure the plastic wrap touches the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming.

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