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Zeppole di San Giuseppe - San Joseph Pastries

These Italian donuts are simple to make and delicious! Try the original recipe!

Zeppole di San Giuseppe are a dessert of the Neapolitan tradition typically consumed in Italy around March 19, the feast day of San Giuseppe (Saint Joseph) and also Father's Day.

They are airy doughnuts filled and topped with pastry cream and finished off with an amarena (a dark sour cherry in syrup) on top. They can be baked or fried, and they can also have different shapes.

My friend Michela (a very good cook and a pastry lover) and I made Zeppole following her tested family recipe. We decided to opt for the baked version because we thought the preparation is easier and Zeppole are lighter.

Even if at first sight the directions could seem complicated, don't worry...because, like Michela told me before starting, "e' più facile a farsi che a dirsi" (it's easier done than said). And guess what, she was right!

Pastry Cream


500 ml whole milk

250 gr sugar

80 gr all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

2 egg yolks

lemon zest of 1/2 lemon


1. In a large pan, place the flour, the sugar, the egg yolks and whisk a little bit.

2. Add the milk and mix all the ingredients.

3. Add the lemon zest and the vanilla extract.

4. Place the pan on medium heat. Do not let it boil.

5. Stir constantly with a whisk until thickened and let it cool down.

Pasta Choux - Zeppole Dough


4 eggs

250 gr water

180 gr all-purpose flour

90 gr margarine (or unsalted butter)

1 pinch of salt

Amarena cherries

Powder sugar


1. Place the water and the margarine in a medium-sized pot and heat until boiling.

2. When the margarine melts, add the salt and the flour all at once.

3. Mix well over the heat for a few minutes, or until the mixture dries and begins to pull away from the pan.

4. Remove from the heat and pour the dough into a mixing bowl to cool it down.

5. Beat in the eggs once at a time until the mixture comes together.

6. Place the dough in a large piping bag fitted with a large round tip, then start piping out little nests about 2-1/2 inches wide placed a few inches apart from each other.

7. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bake them for about 40 minutes or until deeply golden brown.

8. Allow cooling before filling the center with the pastry cream.

9. Sprinkle a little bit of powder sugar over the top of the zeppole.

10. Decorate the top with pastry cream

11. Top the zeppole with one amarena and pour a little bit of syrup.




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