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zeppole di San Giuseppe
Zeppole di San Giuseppe (St. Joseph's Day Sweet Fritters, with yeast, potatoes, lemon zest, and filled with pastry cream)
Originated from: Sorrento, Campania
Occasion: St. Joseph Feast Day
Contributed by: Mrs. Immacolatina Guida

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200 grams of flour
1 egg
200 grams of potatoes, boiled, peeled and mashed
40 grams of oil
40 grams of sugar
15 grams of dry yeast
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
about 1/4 cup tepid milk

Oil for deep frying

For Pastry Cream filling
7 egg yolks
350 grams sugar (about 1 1/2 cups)
7 tablespoons flour
Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
2 cups 2 per cent partly skimmmed milk
1 bag of vanilla powder, preferably, "Paneangel Aroma per dolci, Vanillina" (If powdered vanilla is unavailable one can substitute 1 teaspoon clear-colored vanilla)
50 grams softened butter (about 2 tablespoons)

For garnish
about 1/4 cup icing sugar


To make the dough

o Prepare the yeast dough.

o Form the dough into a ball and let it rest for about 2 hours.

o Take a chunk of dough and form a taralli-style log about 14 inches long and 3/4 inches wide, making sure the center of the log is thicker than the ends.

o Make oval-shaped zeppole by pinching the two ends together. (One can also employ a pastry bag to make the zeppole, creating ridges etc.).

o Heat up oil.

o Fry the zeppole in the hot oil, turning the fritters over so that both sides are well-cooked.

o Place the zeppole on paper towels to usurp excess oil.

To make the pastry cream filling:

o Keep eggs in tepid water for about 8 minutes.

o Separate egg yolks from egg whites.

o Beat egg yolks.

o Add sugar. Stir by hand.

o Slowly add flour.

o Add finely grated lemon zest.

o Add milk. Mix well.

o Add bag of vanilla powder ("Paneangel's Aroma per dolci, Vanillina").

o Add softened butter and mix very well with a wooden spatula.

o Turn on burner on medium high heat (#7).

o Put mixture in a stainless steel pan (L'Agastina brand is very good) and put on burner.

o Using a large whisk, stir mixture while it cooks and thickens. Do NOT let it boil, but it should be warm enough for it to cook through. Keep stirring the mixture for about 15 minutes or until it has the consistency of a thick Italian-style cream.

o Cool.

To make the zeppole

o Slice the zeppole in the center (as one does with bagels).

o Top the bottom slice with pastry cream.

o Replace the top slice.

o Garnish with icing sugar.


Apparently zeppole are a touch bigger than zeppoline. In Sorrento, Campania the zeppole are presented in an oval shape. The zeppole made from the dough from this recipe can be filled with chocolate pastry cream, whipped cream, sugared ricotta or any other type of garnish one likes. The dough, which is relatively soft, can also be put through a pastry bag and be presented with swirled patterns. The dough can also be baked, instead of fried...... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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