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Zeppole di San Giuseppe

(St. Joseph’s Day Traditional Italian Pastries)

Zeppole di San Giuseppe are traditional Italian cream filled pastries which are made for the Feast of St Joseph. Today my students mastered the art of creating the perfect pastry shell and lightest most delicious pastry cream.

I quickly took this photo knowing that they wouldn't last long after!

Ingredients for pastry

  • (4 oz) 1/2 cup butter

  • 1 ½ teaspoons of sugar

  • (8 oz) 1 cup water

  • (5 oz) 1 cup flour

  • 4 eggs at room temperature


  • (6.75 oz) 2/3 cup milk at room temperature

  • 2 egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp (5 oz) sugar

  • 2 ¼ tbsp corn starch or potato starch

  • pinch of salt

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • powdered sugar to sprinkle

  • Fabbri cherries these are the most authentic topping, but omit if you can’t find them

Heat oven to 400ºF (200ºC)

Begin preparing the choux pastry by placing the butter, sugar and water in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a rolling boil. Next, add the flour all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon for about a minute until the mixture forms a ball.

Remove from heat, keep stirring to cool the dough a little, then add an egg and beat well until well incorporated, before adding the next. Repeat with remaining eggs until the batter is smooth and satiny.

Next, place the mixture in a piping bag with a 2D or other tip, or spoon onto a baking tray lined with a silicone sheet or parchment paper. Pipe or shape into small puffs, about 3″ apart. If piping, shape the upper part of the pastry so there is a small hole in the center, or make one with the back of a teaspoon.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Turn off oven, and leave for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.

While the cream puffs are baking, make the filling.

How to Make Crema Pasticcera

Place the egg yolks, sugar, potato starch, salt and vanilla into a pot and whisk together. Begin pouring in the warm milk, then turn the burner on a low heat.

Continue whisking and pouring, and gradually increase the heat. Cook until the mixture thickens and is cooked (it will be a few minutes). Cool the pastry cream stirring occasionally.

Make a hole with a skewer into the side of the choux pastry bun and fill with pastry cream using a piping bag.

Pipe more filling onto the indentation on top and dust with powdered sugar.

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