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  • Writer's pictureAmanda MacGregor

Homemade St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries

Updated: Apr 10

A delicious celebratory treat to enjoy on March 19th - our homemade St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries, featuring both the regular recipe and a free-from recipe!


Homemade St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries - amanda macgregor - food allergy recipes

Celebrated annually on March 19th, St. Joseph's Day is an important feast day in Italian culture, especially among Sicilian Americans. This day honors St. Joseph, the patron saint of fathers and workers. One of the highlights of this celebration is the indulgence in a variety of delicious pastries that have become synonymous with the occasion, such as the Zeppole di San Giuseppe, the Traditional St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries.


Quite honestly, I was unaware of the day's celebration being such an ordeal for Italian heritage families, until I met Joe. He invited me over to his house one year while we were dating to celebrate with a family dinner and introduced me to the pastries, that I admired from afar.


Homemade St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries - amanda macgregor - food allergy recipes
Joe with his dad and grandfather on March 19th, 2018

Inspired by the potential challenge, I was determined I could make Homemade St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries. As always, my first step when trying a new recipe is making it the regular way, aka not substituting any ingredients. I do this so that I get a feel of the cooking technique and method of a recipe before attempting to recreate it using ingredients I can have.


To jump to the two different versions, click the links below:



Now, let's get into it!


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Homemade St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries - amanda macgregor - food allergy recipes

Homemade St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries

 

Ingredients

For Pastry:

  • ½ cup butter, cubed and at room temperature

  • 1 ½ teaspoon of sugar

  • 1 cup of water

  • 1 cup flour

  • 4 eggs, at room temperature

For Filling:

  • 2 egg yolks

  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cane sugar

  • 2 ¼ tablespoon potato starch or arrowroot starch

  • pinch of sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup whole milk, plus extra if needed

For Assembling and Decorating:

  • powdered sugar, to sprinkle

  • Cherry or jam flavor of choice


Directions

Pastry:

  1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, then set aside.

  2. In a medium-sized saucepan over low to medium heat, add the butter, sugar, and water. Gently stir until combined, then let it come to a rolling boil.

  3. Add in the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to form and becomes a dough ball.

  4. Remove from the heat and add the eggs, one at a time. Using the wooden spoon, beat until well incorporated, before adding in the next egg.

  5. Place the mixture into a piping bag or simply spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. There are two ways you can do this:

    1. Form a base, about a 3-inch round disc. Then, create a wall upward, forming a cone-like shape over the base. Be sure to leave a hole at the top of the cone for the filling later.

    2. The second way is to form a circular donut shape. You can do it in one layer or two layers. I prefer making two layers for the filling process later on.

  6. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Then, turn off the oven, and leave the tray in there for an additional 10 minutes before removing it. Allow to cool completely before placing the pastries on top of a cooling wire rack.



Filling:

  1. In a small saucepan, add the egg yolks, sugar, starch, salt, and vanilla and whisk together until combined.

  2. Pour in half the milk, and whisk into the mixture. Then turn on the burner on low heat. Continue whisking while gradually pouring in the rest of the milk and increasing the burner to medium-high heat. Continue whisking over the flame until the mixture thickens. It will be a couple of minutes so make sure your arms are ready! 💪


* Add additional milk if needed during the whisking process - ours got very solid and the extra milk helped loosen up the custard, making it creamy and ready for piping.


Homemade St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries - amanda macgregor - food allergy recipes

Assembling and Decorating:

  1. Fill the custard into a prepared piping bag.

  2. If you are doing the cone-shaped pastry, pipe the custard into the indentation on the top until the inside of the pastry is full and some custard is peeking out. However, make sure not to overfill the pastry. We suggest pipping slowly to prevent overfill.

  3. If you are doing the donut-shaped pastry, cut the pastry in half so you have the top and the bottom separated. If you want, you can add a layer of the cherry jam before adding the custard.

  4. Finish the pastry by dusting it with powdered sugar and topping it with a cherry or with jam as we did.

 

Homemade St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries - amanda macgregor - food allergy recipes

Free From St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries

 

Ingredients

For Pastry:

For Filling:

  • 2 egg yolks

  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cane sugar

  • 2 ¼ tablespoon arrowroot starch, or a powdered startch of your choosing

  • pinch of sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 cup oat milk, or dairy-free milk of your choosing

For Assembling and Decorating:


Homemade St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries - amanda macgregor - food allergy recipes

Directions

Pastry:

  1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, then set aside.

  2. In a medium-sized saucepan over low to medium heat, add the palm shortening, sugar, and water. Gently stir until combined, then let it come to a rolling boil.

  3. Add in the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture starts to form and becomes a dough ball.

  4. Remove from the heat and add the eggs, one at a time. Using the wooden spoon, beat until well incorporated, before adding in the next egg.

  5. Place the mixture into a piping bag or simply spoon the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Form the dough into a circular donut shape. You can do it in one layer or two layers. I prefer making two layers for the filling process later on.

  6. Place the baking sheet in the center of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Then, turn off the oven, and leave the tray in there for an additional 10 minutes before removing it. Allow to cool completely before placing the pastries on top of a cooling wire rack.


AD


Homemade St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries - amanda macgregor - food allergy recipes

Filling:

  1. In a small saucepan, add the egg yolks, sugar, starch, salt, and vanilla and whisk together until combined.

  2. Pour in half the milk, and whisk into the mixture. Then turn on the burner on low heat. Continue whisking while gradually pouring in the rest of the milk and increasing the burner to medium-high heat. Continue whisking over the flame until the mixture thickens. It will be a couple of minutes so make sure your arms are ready! 💪


* Add additional milk if needed during the whisking process - ours got very solid and the extra milk helped loosen up the custard, making it creamy and ready for piping.


Assembling and Decorating::

  1. Fill the custard into a prepared piping bag.

  2. Cut the pastry in half so you have the top and the bottom separated. If you want, you can add a layer of the cherry jam before adding the custard.

  3. Finish the pastry by dusting it with powdered sugar and topping it with a cherry or with jam as we did.

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