Zeppole di San Giuseppe

Saint Joseph’s Day Fritters

Preparation info

  • Makes


    • Difficulty


Appears in

Great Italian Desserts

By Nick Malgieri

Published 1990

  • About

These fritters are prepared for the feast of Saint Joseph, on March 19. An important holiday in Italy, it is celebrated with as much fervor as Thanksgiving is here. These light fritters are filled with an orange cream and preserved sour cherries.


    Orange Pastry Cream

  • 1 cup milk
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


    For the orange pastry cream, bring the milk, orange zest, and half the sugar to a boil in a saucepan. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl, then whisk in the remaining sugar. Sift the flour over the yolk mixture and whisk it in. When the milk mixture boils, whisk one-third of it into the yolk mixture. Return the remaining milk to a boil and whisk the yolk mixture into it. Continue whisking until the cream thickens and returns to a boil. Remove from the heat and beat in the vanilla. Pour the cream into a bowl, cover the surface directly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cold.

    For the cream puff paste, bring the water, butter, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour all at once. Return to the heat and cook the mixture until it leaves the sides of the pan. Pour the paste into a mixing bowl and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the sugar and orange zest.

    With a pastry bag and a ½-inch star tube (Ateco #4), pipe the paste into -inch circles, piping each circle on a separate piece of parchment. Heat the oil to 375 degrees and fry the zeppole a few at a time, peeling away the parchment. Turn the zeppole once during cooking. Drain on paper towels and cool.

    To assemble the fritters, place a spoonful of orange pastry cream in the center of each zeppola and top with some of the cherries, drained from the conserva. Dust the fritters with the confectioners’ sugar.

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