top of page
  • Writer's pictureAmanda MacGregor

Traditional St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries

Updated: Jul 10

A delicious celebratory treat to enjoy on March 19th!

Traditional St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries - amanda macgregor centineo - 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, especially 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.

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

While admiring the pastries, the baker and the optimism within me was determined I could make these at home. 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.

In this recipe, you will find two versions: the traditional recipe and the "Amanda's Version" which is dairy-free, gluten-free, corn-free, and coconut-free!

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

Now, let's get into it!

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

Traditional St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries



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 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 cup whole milk, plus extra if needed

For Decorating:

  • powdered sugar, to sprinkle

  • Cherry or jam flavor of choice



  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. Once the mixture comes to a rolling boil, add in the flour all at once. 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 a baking tray lined with parchment paper. To begin, 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.

  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.


  1. Place the egg yolks, sugar, starch, salt, and vanilla into another small saucepan and whisk together until blended.

  2. Pour in half the milk, then turn the burner on low heat. Continue whisking and pouring, while gradually increasing the heat to medium, then medium-high. Continue whisking and cooking 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 started out very solid and the extra milk helped loosen up the custard, making it creamy and ready for piping.

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


  1. Fill the custard into a prepared piping bag.

  2. Pipe the custard into the indentation on top, until the inside of the pastry is full and some custard is peeking out. Make sure not to overfill the pastry. We suggest piping slowly to prevent overfill.

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


Free From St. Joseph’s Day Italian Pastries

( C O M I N G S O O N )


Related Posts

bottom of page