St. Joseph's Day

St. Joseph's Cakes (Recipe)

St joe cake


On this day, the feast of San Giuseppe, every Italian household makes its version of St. Joseph's Cakes , Zeppole, or cream puffs.

The St. Joseph's Cakes can be made ahead and frozen, and the filling can be made a day before serving. The lard is what makes the recipe authentic, but you may use all butter.


St. Joseph's Cakes (print recipe)

CREAM PUFF SHELLS or you may use the Salera version
2 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups water
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
3 1/2 tablespoons lard (butter may be used, if desired)
6 large eggs

1/4 cup potato starch or cornstarch
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons Pure Almond Extract

Confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Grease and flour a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.

Cream Puff Shells
Sift the flour, salt, and baking soda together and set aside.

In a heavy saucepan, heat the water, add the butter and lard, and when melted, remove pan from the stove and add the flour mixture all at once. Beat with a wooden spoon, then return the pan to medium-high heat, beating the mixture until it comes away from the sides of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs one at a time, beating with a wooden spoon or hand mixer to blend each in well before adding the next egg.

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain nozzle with some of the cream puff mixture. Squeeze out 1 1/4-inch puffs about 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheet. Bake the cream puffs in preheated 425ºF (220ºC) oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. When done, carefully slit the side of each cream puff with a knife to allow steam to escape and prevent the puffs from becoming soggy inside. Transfer the cream puffs to cooling racks.

Cream Filling
In a small bowl, mix the potato starch (or cornstarch, if using) and sugar for the filling. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and butter over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Add the starch mixture and cook over medium heat until it starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and slowly add the eggs, beating well. Return the mixture to the heat for just a few seconds to cook the mixture, being careful not to scramble the eggs. Pour the filling into a bowl, add the almond extract, and blend. Cover with buttered waxed paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

To Serve
Use a small knife to cut off the top third of each cream puff. Add about 2 teaspoons filling (more if the puffs are larger), replace the tops, and put puffs on a decorative platter. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve immediately.

Makes about 48 Zeppole.

Fill cream puffs with jam, chocolate cream filling, or ice cream. Drizzle chocolate sauce over the top and place a maraschino cherry over each Zeppoli, instead of confectioners' sugar.

Source: Nella Cucina by: Mary Ann Esposito
Publisher: Morrow Cookbooks; May 21, 1993

Date: March 19, 2004

St. Joseph Cakes - Zepole (Recipe)




St. Joseph Cakes - Zepole- Choux pastry

 (print recipe)



2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4- cup water
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1/2- teaspoon salt
3/4-cup all purpose flour, sifted
3 large eggs
4-cups vegetable oil (for deep frying)



Mix sugar and cinnamon in shallow bowl, set aside.

Combine 3/4-cup water, butter and salt in heavy medium saucepan, stir over
medium heat until butter melts.  Increase heat and bring to boil.

Add flour all at once and stir with wooden spoon to blend.  Stir over
Medium heat until dough forms a ball in center of pan, about 1 minute.
Transfer dough to bowl.  Using electric mixer, beat dough until slightly
Cool, about 15 seconds.  Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until blended after
Each addition.

Heat vegetable oil in heavy large deep saucepan to 370 f.  Working in
batches, carefully drop mounded 1/2 teaspoons of dough into hot oil and
cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes per batch.

Using slotted spoon, transfer fritters to paper towels and drain 10 seconds.  Immediately roll fritters in cinnamon sugar. Fill puffs with Cannoli filling or custard and cooked cherries.  Dust with powder sugar