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Bigné di San Giuseppe - St. Joseph's Day Pastries

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Why I Love This Recipe

My long standing favorite Italian pastry is especially popular in RI, and especially today, March 19th. Celebrating St. Joseph's Day is a great reason to make some, but they are delicious any time. Visit my blog for the whole zeppoli story!

Ingredients You'll Need

For the Pastry:1 c. water
2 sticks unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbls. sugar
1 c. all purpose flour
4 eggs
Zest of one lemon and one orange
For the custard: 1 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
3 c. whole milk
4 egg yolks
3 Tbls. unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbls. rum (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large saucepan, combine the water and butter, and bring to a boil. Add the salt and flour, whisking constantly until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan to form a ball in the center. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating them in completely. Add the sugar, lemon zest, and orange zest. Mix well.

Drop by large tablespoon (or use a large pastry bag to pipe large mounds) onto a baking sheet, placing the puffs three inches apart.

Bake for ten minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for thirty minutes or until golden.

Remove the puffs from the oven.

Open the puffs immediately at the top to allow steam to escape.

Cool completely before filling and make the custard.

In saucepan over moderate heat, combine sugar, flour and salt.

Add milk gradually, cooking and stirring until mixture is thick and bubbly. Lower heat, stirring for 2 minutes and remove from heat.

In small bowl, add cream mixture to eggs slowly. Return mixture back to pan. Bring to gently boil for 2 more minutes, adding butter, rum, and vanilla. Tranfer to a shallow bowl to cool, placing plastic wrap on the top of the custard to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate.

Once custard has cooled completely, pipe into opened pastry shells until they are so full they might pop, top with a cherry, and dust with powdered sugar.

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