Oven-Baked Zeppole Di San Giuseppe
Every special event and holiday in Italy has its traditional dish; for Italian Father's Day, 19th March, it is the zeppole di San Giuseppe, named after the protector of fathers, patron saint of the church. They originated in Naples and in the city are sold either fried or oven-baked – just irresistible!
Zeppole di San Giuseppe are fat cream puffs, filled to bursting with vanilla pastry cream, garnished with oh so tasty Amarena cherries. They are also the perfect treat to celebrate the festival of colours, Holi, with their rich, enticing sweetness. Try making them at home to celebrate with your family!
1 hour 50 minutes
250 ml water
45 g butter
150 g Italian type 00 flour
1 pinch of salt
For the pastry cream:
200 ml full fat milk
50 g fresh liquid cream
½ vanilla pod
70 g sugar
2 egg yolks
20 g cornflour
4 sour Amarena cherries in syrup
First make the choux pastry. Put the water and cubed butter in a pan and leave to melt over moderate heat, as soon as it starts to boil, add the flour all at once.
Mix very quickly with a wooden spatula or spoon. As soon as the mixture has thickened continue to cook over the heat until it comes away from the sides of the pan and there is a whitish sheen on the base. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool a little. In the meantime, beat the eggs in a bowl, then pour a little of the beaten egg into the warmish dough and mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated.
Add a pinch of salt and add the remaining eggs a little at a time. Continue adding the eggs slowly until the mixture is smooth and thick. Don’t worry if lumps form at first, but continue to work the mixture patiently until you get the right consistency. Place the choux pastry in a piping bag with a 1.2 cm star-shaped nozzle and preheat the oven to 205 °C (fan-assisted).
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper: to fix it, squeeze a little dough at the corners between the pan and the parchment paper. Then create the choux pastries, for each you will have to pipe two turns, one on top of the other in order to create a circle with a diameter of about 10 cm. Once all 4 pastries have been prepared, bake in a preheated fan-assisted oven at 205°C for about 25 minutes on the lowest shelf, until they are golden brown. After 25 minutes, open the oven door slightly and cook for another 5 minutes so that they dry inside as well, then take your pastries out of the oven. Let them cool completely and in the meantime prepare the vanilla pastry cream.
In a saucepan, combine the milk, the cream, the vanilla seeds from the half vanilla pod and the emptied pod. Bring the mixture to just reaching a boil, in the meantime add the egg yolks to the sugar in another bowl and whisk quickly. Add the cornflour and whisk until the mixture is smooth. As soon as the milk and cream begin to boil, remove the vanilla pod with kitchen tongs. Pour the milk into the egg mixture a very little at a time, beating quickly with the whisk. Transfer back to the pan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the cream has thickened. Transfer the cream to a bowl, cover with cling film and let it cool completely.
When it is cold, place it in a piping bag with a smooth nozzle. At this point, the pastries will be cold and you can fill them. Using the piping bag, pierce the zeppola in one point by applying light pressure and squeeze a little cream inside. Repeat the same operation on the other side to fill them completely. Stuff all 4 pastries then arrange them on a serving dish, squeeze a blob of cream in the centre of each pastry and place a sour Amerena cherry in syrup on each one. At this point, sprinkle with plenty of icing sugar and your baked zeppole are ready to be served!