March 19th is a very special day to Italians. It is the feast day of Saint Joseph and Father’s Day is also celebrated on this day and it is celebrated with delicious pastries that vary by region. St. Joseph is also the patron saint of the school I attended growing up and I fondly remember the ice cream treats that we had. 🙂
2 years ago I was able to find these pastries at Antico Pizza Napoletana here in Atlanta and was so excited that I ate several. Last year, no such luck and I was crushed. This year I came to the realization that I could just attempt to make them myself and then I wouldn’t have to worry about being able to find them.
This recipe is from Southern Italian Desserts and the recipe can also be found here if you’d like to make your own! I was very anxious about making the zeppole because of the trickiness of making pastry cream and frying the dough (I had 0 experience using a deep fryer before making these). The first batch of pastry cream resulted in curdled eggs. Thanks to my good friend Tara and helpful You Tube videos, I was able to temper it better and the 2nd try was perfect (and extra delicious- this recipe called for lemon).
I made the dough the next day (March 19th) after work- the pastries are best eaten a little warm and definitely do not keep, which while a shame, definitely encourages you to go all out and have another (and maybe just 1 more because they won’t keep, and boy are they good!)
I was really pleased with how easy it was to use my deep fryer and could not have been more happy with how the pastries turned out- especially since it was the first time I was making them. Next time I’ll know to pipe the dough a little thicker- when played in the fryer it shouldn’t end up like a doughnut. The hole should come close to closing and create almost a well for the pastry cream to rest in (details, details) 🙂
I’m looking forward to making these again next year and honoring the Italian side of my family- it gave me a great, great sense of pride to be able to make them. I just wish I could have shared them with everyone in my family 🙂