Thursday, March 17, 2016

Anna Sultana’s Żeppoli ta' san Ġużepp II / St. Joseph's Zeppole

St. Joseph’s feast day is this weekend.
Funny to think Carmela and Ma have something in common.
But, yes, if you’re from that part of Europe, you just have to celebrate St. Joseph by enjoying a pastry.

Since then I’ve posted a few other recipes that would be suitable for St. Joseph’s big day:

           - Fried choux pastry with sweet ricotta filling and honey coating

Carmela Soprano's Sfingi (St. Joseph's Day Zeppole)

Carmela Soprano's Cream Puffs / Baked Sfingi and Ricotta Cream Filling

Cream Puffs - Baked Sfingi / Zfineg ta San Guzepp 

Okay… those are the recipes that most Moms would make.
But then, of course, there’s a more elaborate Zeppoli.
It’s kind of like Sfogliatelle, better known as Shfooyadell’. 
Great to eat, hell to make.

This is not something for a beginner - or a sane person - to make on a regular basis.
But, if you want to show off, or put an in-law in her place, this recipe could do it.
And all the while that your in-law is fuming, you could smile sweetly and say you went to all that trouble for good old St. Joseph.
Yeah, right, like the Blessed Virgin would’ve done the same.


If you don’t want to peel the fruit use
2 teaspoons lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon orange extract
This also saves the mess of fishing the peels out of the pudding.

The peeled fruit could be added to a pitcher of sangria.
The egg whites could be used for the cookies, Dead Man's Bones, or Baked Alaska, or a healthy egg white omelet.
Waste not, want not.

If you don't have a deep-frying thermometer, test the oil by slipping a bit of the dough into the oil.  It should sizzle and turn brown in 1 minute.

Try to not fill the Żeppoli until you are ready to serve them.
They really don’t age well.
Well, the same could be said about that in-law.

                        Żeppoli ta' san Ġużepp


2 lemons
1/2 orange
Set aside.

Beat together
2 Cups Milk
6 egg yolks
Place in a small pot
1/2 Cup and 2 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 Cup and 2 Tablespoons flour
Stir them until they are well blended.
Gradually stir in 
2 Cups Milk
Gradually stir in the milk / egg yolk mixture.
Add the lemon and orange peels.
Place the pot on the stove over low heat.
While stirring constantly, cook until the milk thickens.
Remove the pot from the heat and discard the peels.
Set the pot aside and let the pudding cool to room temperature.
Stir occasionally to prevent a thick skin from forming.


2 Cups flour
1/2 Cup sugar

In a large pot place
1 3/4 Cups water
4 ounces butter
Place the pot on the stove over high heat.
Heat to boiling.
When the butter has melted, reduce the heat.
While the pot is still on the stove, gradually stir in the flour / sugar mixture.
Stir until the mixture forms a ball.
Continue stirring the dough on the stove for 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat.
Let the ball of dough cool completely.

While the dough is cooling, cut a dozen 4 x 4 inch squares foil.

Beat into the dough, one at a time
6 eggs
Beat until smooth.
The dough will become softer, almost like a batter.
Place the dough in a pastry bag.
On each square of foil, starting from the centre, squeeze the dough from the pastry bag to form a bird's nest with a hollow space in the middle. 
The bird’s nest is called a Żeppola.

In a deep saucepan or deep fryer pour
about 2 inches vegetable oil
Heat to 375º on a deep-fry thermometer or test with dough (see hints).
While the Żeppola is still on the foil, put 2 or 3 into the hot frying oil. 
Don't crowd or they won't fry properly.
The paper will separate from the Żeppola and you will be able to remove it.
Turn them several times until they turn golden-brown on both sides, about 3 minutes.
Remove the Żeppoli with a slotted spoon.
Drain on paper towels.
Repeat with the remaining dough.
Cool the Żeppoli thoroughly.

Arrange the Żeppoli on a platter.
Put the filling in a clean pastry bag.
Fill the centre of each Żeppola with some custard.

Garnish the custard centre of each Żeppola with
a maraschino cherry
Dust with 
Confectioners’ sugar

Serve, sit back and expect compliments.


  1. We always celebrated St. Joseph's Day with Zeppole, Margaret. I haven't made them myself in years. To be honest, I'm probably not going to be making them this year either but, I do miss them and I LOVE seeing yours!

    Thanks for sharing, Margaret...

  2. Thanks, Louise, for dropping by.
    I'm just going to make the simple cream puffs with ricotta. St. Joseph will understand :-)


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