Thursday, March 14, 2013

St. Joseph's Day Zeppole

If everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, then everybody is a Guido on St. Joseph's Day (March 19th)...and if you wear green for Luck Of the Irish, then wear red for Italy!

Come, on...let's all do our favorite Sopranos impression.  I gotta go with Paulie Walnuts...this scene specifically:
"Tony Soprano: [over the phone] It's a bad connection so I'm gonna talk fast! The guy you're looking for is an ex-commando! He killed sixteen Chechen rebels single-handed! 

Paulie 'Walnuts' Gualtieri: Get the BLEEP outta here. 

Tony Soprano: Yeah. Nice, huh? He was with the Interior Ministry. Guy's like a Russian green beret. He can not come back and tell this story. You understand? 

Paulie 'Walnuts' Gualtieri: I hear you. [hangs up

Paulie 'Walnuts' Gualtieri: You're not gonna believe this. He killed sixteen Czechoslovakians. Guy was an interior decorator.

Christopher Moltisanti: His house looked like BLEEP." ~ IMDb Quotes from Paulie 'Walnuts" Gualtieri from "The Sopranos" (1999)

Nothing says St. Joseph's Day better than zeppole!  Zeppole di San Giuseppe, as they are traditionally called.  Whether you opt for the baked version, or the fried version, you are sure to enjoy every last bite...that is, assuming you like flaky pastry shells and rich, custardy creme fillings...if you don't, then we can't be friends. Sorry.

I have never made zeppole before; they are readily available RI and in a few (few!) locations in Maine.  But for hyper-sensitive-allergy-bubble-boy, they were never an option; peanut + tree nut allergies ='s no bakery products.  So let's give it a shot...

The pastry shell recipe I followed was similar to that of choux pastry; heat butter & water, add flour and cook stirring until doughball forms, beat in eggs, shape and bake.  I traced circles with a juice glass on the underside of the parchment paper to use as a guide, to keep the shells all somewhat uniform in size.  As I mentioned in a recent post, I don't own a pastry bag; I use Ziplocs.  Take the blade out of your blender, use the blender body to hold open the Ziploc bag when filling.  Then just twist up the bag, trim the corner off,  and squeeze like you're squeezin' the Charmin!

While the shells were baking, I began the creme filling.  Once everything was whisked in the pan, it came together fast; whisk, and whisk, and whisk some more until it comes to a boil, then whisk for 1 more minute.  Add in the orange zest, vanilla extract, and (here's where I goofed) 1/2 TBS of your favorite rum...I put in 1 1/2 TBS, whoopsie! (what can I say, Tommy Tew got me excited!).  Cover the surface of the custard with plastic, as not to create a skin while it cools; chill it for a bit.

Finally, the last step; fold whipped whipping cream into the custard.  Use the Ziploc bag technique again to pipe a ring of creme filling inside each zeppole, and then a little dollop on top, garnish with a cherry (I used my boozy cherries).  Homemade zeppole, yay!!!!

So put the leftover corned beef & cabbage aside, just for one day, and celebrate St. Joseph's day with a zeppole...oh, and wear something red.

Print THIS Recipe!
St. Joseph's Day Zeppole
Recipe adapted from,
makes 8 servings

For The Pastry Shells:
1 cup water
4 TBS butter
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, line a sheet pan with parchment paper.  Over medium heat, combine water, butter, sugar, and salt; bring to a boil and remove from heat, turn burner down to low.  Add flour and stir until just combined; return to stove and continue to stir over low heat until a doughball is formed - remove from heat.  Transfer to a stand mixer (a handheld mixer will work too on a low speed), add eggs on at a time, beating well and scraping the sides of the bowl upon adding each egg.  Batter should be smooth and glossy.

Allow mixture to cool; meanwhile trace 2 1/2 inch circles on the underside of the parchment paper - use these as a guide when piping the spirals.  When mixture has cooled a bit, add into a pastry bag.  Beginning in the center of each traced circle, start spiraling out to fill the circle, then go around the outside of the circles to build up the outer wall.  Bake 25-30 minutes until golden brown.  Cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

For The Filling:
1/4 cup sugar
2 TBS cornstarch
2 egg yolks
1 cup milk
1/2 - 1 TBS rum
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange zest
3/4 cup whipping cream, whipped
In a bowl, whisk together milk and egg yolks.  In a saucepan, over medium heat add milk and egg mixture, whisk in sugar and cornstarch.  Whisk constantly until boiling, then whisk vigorously for another minute.  Remove from heat, add orange zest, rum and vanilla.  Transfer into a bowl, cover the surface of the custard with plastic wrap to avoid a skin from forming.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When the shells and the custard have cooled, whip the whipping cream until thick peaks are formed, fold into custard.  Add creme mixture into a pastry bag.  Slice the shells in half, pipe a ring of creme inside each shell, and a small ring of creme atop each filled shell.  Top with a cherry.  Refrigerate until ready to serve; cover leftovers with plastic wrap to avoid the creme from drying out.

Buon appetito!
I have shared this post on:
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Cast Party Wednesday, Lady Behind The Curtain
What's Cooking Wednesday, Buns In My Oven
Tuesday Talent Show, Chef In Training

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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Shirley! They aren't vegan :) but I have some vegan posts coming!

  2. Those look amazing! I love the tip about holding the bag in the blender're a genius :)

    1. Thanks Lisa - I can't take full credit for that, I'm pretty sure I saw it on Pinterest, and it actually worked!

  3. I'm new to your blog and I have to tell you how much I enjoy the way you write, so young and fresh. You have got to take pictures of your pets and post them. lol I also love your recipes, they are different than most others. Thank you for your time and talent. Trish Butler

    1. Thank you for your kind words!! Notch, Duke, & Big Bird aren't letting their 10 minutes of internet fame go to their heads :o)

  4. OK I think we're friends! I have never had these before, but I am totally going to try them! I love a good cream-filled pastry. Thanks so much for linking up at Wicked God Wednesdays today!

  5. We can be friends!!! This looks amazing :) I want some right now. We found a local place here that serves zeppole but it doesn't have the cream. I'm feeling shafted now! Krista @ A Handful of Everything



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