St Joseph zeppole (Zeppole di San Giuseppe in Italian) are the typical treats from Campania, the region around Naples, to celebrate Father’s day. Nowadays, zeppole are common all over Italy, even if other local treats are present, e.g. the traditional raviole emiliane from Bologna.
St Joseph Zeppole tradition
Zeppole are typically from Naples, even if their roots are uncertain. A bunch of villages near Mount Vesuvius fight over giving birth to this traditional treat. The first written version of zeppole recipe dates back to early XIX century.
They are named after St Joseph (San Giuseppe in Italian), the Father of Jesus. That’s why they are the typical gift for Italian fathers during their (I should say… our) day, that is celebrated on March 19th.
Is this interesting? Trust me, they are even tastier! If you want to be sure to find this recipe next time you feel like making them… you can PIN this easily 🙂
How are zeppole made?
St Joseph zeppole recipe is simply extraordinary. The base is a choux pastry (note: thanks to this recipe I found out Sally’s baking recipe site, it is truely amazing!), that can be fried or baked. In Naples they usually fry it, but here is the version in the oven: it is lighter and better fits my personal taste.
After being cooked, zeppole are topped (and sometimes also filled, as in this version) with pastry cream, one or more delicious candied black cherry (amarena in Italian) is added and finally some icing sugar to make them perfect.
Fun fact: I was born about 200 meters from the historical Fabbri factory, the company famous all over the worlds for their amarene. Their iconic ceramic vase, one of the unforgettable memories of my childhood, is not only in almost any Italian kitchen, but was chosen by New York MoMa to be part of their expositions. Not bad having a piece of art at home 😉
How can I store zeppole?
Let’s imagine you will be able to resist and not finish them all… If you are that brave, you can store your zeppole in fridge. Ideal container is a tin one, but glass or plastic will work just fine. Please consider that we don’t advice to store your zeppole for longer than two days.
But now it’s time to share with you how to make in your oven these amazing St Joseph zeppole! And if you don’t know where to find the original Amarene Fabbri, here’s the link you can use to buy them and, at the same time, support this project of sharing love and knowledge for authentic Italian food. Thank you! 🙂
Enjoy and make a daddy happy 🙂
St Joseph zeppole
- 1 pot
- 1 wooden spoon
- 2 bowl
- 1 whip or one stand mixer
- 1 baking tray
- some baking paper
- 1 sac-à-poche
- 1 strainer to powder the icing sugar
- 8 organic eggs
- 300 gr general purpose flour in Italy, would be '00' flour
- 90 gr butter
- 500 gr water
- 2 pinches salt
- 400 gr milk
- 140 gr sugar
- 40 gr corn starch
- 100 gr fresh milk cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 vanilla bean
- 12-24 candied black cherry Amarene Fabbri (1 or 2 each zeppola)
- q.s. icing sugar
- The execution of this recipe is split in two. The zeppole preparation and the pastry cream. Let's start preparing the choux pastry, adding the butter to the water in a pot and heating it.
- When the butter has melted and is close to boiling temperature, add with a strainer all the flour and energetically mix it with a wooden spoon.
- You will understand that it is ready to be removed from the heat when it is not sticky anymore, as in the video. Put the dough into a bowl, to cool down.
- In the meanwhile, shake the 8 eggs in a bowl.
- Slowly add the eggs to the dough. It takes a little bit to incorporate the eggs into the dough, be patient… eventually you will get a smooth cream. In the meanwhile, add a pinch or two of salt. What you will get at the end is a delicious choux pastry!
- Preheat the convection oven at 200-210 °C. On a baking tray covered with baking paper, shape the zeppole, using the sac-à-poche. You should be able to shape 4 of them on a single tray, being about 8-10 cm in diameter.
- Put the tray into the oven, close to its bottom. They must bake for about 25 minutes, plus 5 minutes with the oven slightly open to remove the humidity. At the end they have a nice bronze colour. Repeat until you have finished the choux pastry. You should obtain about 12-15 zeppole.
- While the zeppole cool down, prepare the pastry cream. In a pot, add the milk, the fresh milk cream, the vanilla seeds extracted from the bean and the bean itself. Over gentle heat, bring it close to boiling temperature.
- In the meanwhile, in a bowl, add the egg yolks with the sugar and whip them.
- Add also the corn starch and whip the cream. Pay attention more than I did, it could be messy 😉
- When the mix in the pot starts boiling, remove the vanilla bean and slowly pour the liquid into the bowl, gently whipping until you get your pastry cream. Pour it into a small bowl to cool down (use the outside temperature if it's cold, or a fridge).
- When both the zeppole and the pastry cream are cool, use again the sac-à-poche to fill each zeppola with the pastry cream and top it with some more pastry cream.
- Time to add the queen, i.e. the Amarena Fabbri on top! Spray with some icing sugar and… your authentic homemade zeppole are ready! Buon appetito 🙂
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