Zeppole di San Giuseppe

(St. Joseph's doughnuts)

Zeppole di San Giuseppe Description:

Zeppole di San Giuseppe, often referred to simply as Zeppole, is a delightful Italian pastry traditionally associated with the celebration of St. Joseph’s Day (Festa di San Giuseppe) on March 19th. These pastries are made from choux pastry, deep-fried to golden perfection, and filled with a rich, velvety custard. They are typically garnished with a generous dusting of powdered sugar and a cherry on top, creating a dessert that’s both visually striking and irresistibly delicious.

Origins and History:

Zeppole di San Giuseppe has a long and storied history that is deeply intertwined with Italian religious and culinary traditions. The feast of St. Joseph, the foster father of Jesus and a revered saint in the Catholic faith, has been celebrated in Italy for centuries. St. Joseph’s Day is a special occasion in the religious calendar, and the Zeppole is a sweet and symbolic way to mark the day.

The origins of Zeppole can be traced back to the southern regions of Italy, particularly Campania and Sicily, where St. Joseph’s Day has been celebrated with grand processions, feasts, and sweet treats for generations. The pastry’s round shape represents the sawdust-covered floors of St. Joseph’s workshop, and the cream filling symbolizes purity and love.

Traditionally, Zeppole di San Giuseppe was a humble, home-cooked dessert that brought families together. They were prepared with simple, locally available ingredients, such as flour, eggs, and sugar. The dough was piped into a spiral shape and deep-fried until golden and crispy. Once cooled, they were generously filled with a luscious, velvety custard. This made Zeppole a true labor of love, a culinary expression of devotion to St. Joseph and a symbol of unity within families.

Over the years, Zeppole’s popularity has grown beyond Italy, and they are now enjoyed around the world, especially in Italian communities. They have become a beloved treat, not just for St. Joseph’s Day but also for various festive occasions, including weddings, birthdays, and other special gatherings.

Today, Zeppole di San Giuseppe continues to be a cherished part of Italian culinary traditions, a testament to the country’s rich heritage and the enduring power of delicious desserts to bring people together in celebration of life, faith, and the joy of savoring something sweet.

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Zeppole di San Giuseppe

Servings: 8


History: Zeppole di San Giuseppe is a traditional Italian pastry that is popularly enjoyed on the feast day of Saint Joseph, celebrated on March 19th. These deep-fried pastries are filled with sweet ricotta cream and adorned with a cherry on top.


For the dough:

For the ricotta filling:

For assembly and decoration:


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

  2. Reduce the heat to low and add the flour all at once. Stir vigorously until a smooth dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan.

  3. Remove the pan from the heat and let the dough cool slightly.

  4. Gradually add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until the dough is smooth and glossy.

  5. Heat vegetable oil in a deep pot or fryer to 375°F (190°C).

  6. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe the dough into small rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  7. Carefully drop the dough rounds into the hot oil, a few at a time, and fry until golden brown and puffed up.

  8. Remove the zeppole with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

  9. In a bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Mix well until smooth and creamy.

  10. Once the zeppole are cool enough to handle, fill a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip with the ricotta filling.

  11. Insert the tip into the side of each zeppola and pipe a generous amount of ricotta filling inside.

  12. Dust the zeppole with powdered sugar and top each one with a maraschino cherry.

  13. Serve Zeppole di San Giuseppe as a delightful and symbolic dessert. Serves 6-8.

    Buon appetito!

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